Cabo Cantina from “Annie Hall”Jul 23rd, 2013 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
The May 2013 issue of Los Angeles magazine featured a short column about a new documentary called The Source Family which detailed the life of a World War II vet turned spiritual guru named Jim Baker (not to be confused with televangelist Jim Bakker), who became most famous for founding both The Source Family cult and a Sunset Strip vegetarian restaurant named simply The Source. The half-page article piqued my interest because, while I had long been aware of The Source (now Cabo Cantina) thanks to its appearance in the 1977 movie Annie Hall, I had never before heard about the inauspicious background of its founder. Upon reading the column, I, of course, immediately added the site to my To-Stalk list and dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out there while in L.A. a few weeks back. The two of us also watched The Source Family this past weekend, or I should say we tried to. While interesting, the documentary was just a tad too odd for my taste and we turned it off halfway through.
The Cincinnati-born Baker migrated to Southern California shortly after World War II, during which he earned a Silver Star, to try his hand at acting. While in La La Land, he became inspired by a health-obsessed group named the Nature Boys and a kundalini yoga guru named Yogi Bhajan. In 1957, Jim opened his first organic health food eatery, the Aware Inn. A second Aware Inn and additional establishments named the Old World Restaurant and The Discovery Inn quickly followed. And while all of the endeavors were extremely successful, Jim started to develop a heavy drug problem and his investors wound up absolving him of his duties. Hoping to turn his life around, Baker founded The Source on April 1st, 1969. For his new venture, he chose a 1946-era building at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and North Sweetzer Avenue that had previously housed a hamburger stand.
The Source, which was way ahead of its time, became an immediate hit, attracting such celebrities as Goldie Hawn, John Lennon, Warren Beatty, Jane Fonda, Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando, Joni Mitchell, and Julie Christie.
About three years after The Source opened its doors, Jim adopted the name of “Father Yod” and began leading a small spiritual commune that he named The Source Family. The group would eventually boast about 140 members, 13 of whom became Yod’s spiritual wives. Most of the Family lived together in Hillhurst, a Los Feliz-area mansion that had once belonged to Los Angeles Times publisher Otis Chandler. The Source, which some articles state brought in about $10,000 per day, provided the group’s income. Money was also generated thanks to the Family’s art gallery, Source Arts, and their popular psychedelic band, YaHoWa13.
In 1974, Father Yod began to fear that the apocalypse was upon him, so he sold The Source and, along with the Family, fled to Hawaii. The guru passed away shortly thereafter, on August 25th, 1975, in a hang gliding accident. The restaurant continued to operate as The Source for a couple of years, whereupon it was purchased by new owners who transformed it into an eatery called The Cajun Bistro. It was during that time that the front patio was enclosed.
Otherwise though, the restaurant still looks very much the same as it did during The Source days.
Today, the site houses Cabo Cantina. The photographs below show what was once The Source’s patio area, but is now the interior of the Mexican eatery. The brick walls seen in the background of the pictures are the former exterior walls of The Source. I absolutely LOVE that they are still visible!
Cabo Cantina is also fairly popular with the Hollywood set. Such stars as Brittany Snow, Ryan Rottman, Jessica Simpson, Cacee Cobb, and Donald Faison have all been spotted there in recent years.
In Annie Hall, The Source was where Alvy (Woody Allen) proposed to his longtime on-again/off-again girlfriend Annie Hall (Diane Keaton) over a plate of alfalfa sprouts and mashed yeast. Yum!
In the scene, the former Golden Crest Retirement Home is visible behind Alvy. That site is now the iconic Standard Hotel.
When Annie turns down Alvy’s proposal, he gets so upset that he winds up hitting three cars while trying to exit The Source’s parking lot and is later arrested.
The restaurant was also featured in the 1970 flick Alex in Wonderland.
The Source also appeared at the beginning of the 1975 flick Just the Two of Us.
The eatery also popped up in the Season 1 episode of the reality series Saddle Ranch (yeah, I’d never heard of it, either) titled “Rachel’s Hair Trigger”. In the episode, the gang goes to Cabo Cantina to grab some after-work cocktails and Rachel winds up drinking too much and causing a huge bar brawl. And while the restaurant was also apparently featured in an episode of Bad Girls Club, I am unsure of which episode.
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Until next time, Happy Stalking!