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The “Little Miss Sunshine” Restaurant

Aug 2nd, 2013 | By | Category: Movie Locations

Little Miss Sunshine Restaurant (8 of 27)

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, while doing research on the former Abiquiu eatery (now Wokcano) from Get Shorty (which I blogged about here), I came across a Chowhound message board on which a commenter named Kevin stated that Pann’s restaurant in Ladera Heights was the spot where the Hoover clan –  Olive (Abigail Breslin), Richard (Greg Kinnear), Dwayne (Paul Dano), Grandpa Edwin (Alan Arkin), Sheryl (Toni Collette), and Frank Ginsberg (Steve Carell) – stopped for a mid-road-trip breakfast in fave movie Little Miss Sunshine.   Because the breakfast scene was one of my favorites in the entire flick, I was extremely excited to learn this information.  Unfortunately though, as is so often the case with locales that are posted online, this one turned out to be wrong.

While Pann’s menus were visible in the scene, as you can see below, one look at online images of the interior of the restaurant and I knew that it was not the right place.  Convincing me further was the fact that Pann’s is not located directly below a freeway overpass, as the Little Miss Sunshine café was shown to be (which you can also see below).


So I got to cyberstalking and fairly quickly came across an absolutely amazing YouTube video (that you can watch by clicking below) in which a fellow stalker named smbstressfest chronicled pretty much every single locale that appeared in the movie.  And while he did not state the addresses of any of the places, in response to a commenter named starbucksmunkey (love it!), he did give the Google Earth coordinates of the restaurant.  Woot woot!  And even though smbstressfest had mentioned that the eatery was no longer in operation, I was still chomping at the bit to stalk it and dragged the Grim Cheaper right on over there this past weekend while the two of us were in L.A.

The Little Miss Sunshine production notes state that the flick was lensed over a thirty-day period during the “hot” summer of 2005, at which time, according to the mmm-yoso!!! website, the space housed an eatery named Rutt’s Hawaiian Café.  Rutt’s was shuttered by the time smbstressfest stalked it in 2007 (the chain still boasts an outpost in Culver City, though) and at some point thereafter a Mexican steakhouse named Don Carlos was opened on the site, but it, too, has since been closed.  According the property’s LoopNet listing, the 5,130-square-foot building also once housed a Denny’s.

Little Miss Sunshine Restaurant (5 of 27)

Little Miss Sunshine Restaurant (2 of 27)

Which makes sense because the property does look very much like a Denny’s location – to me, at least.

Little Miss Sunshine Restaurant (10 of 27)

Little Miss Sunshine Restaurant (11 of 27)

And while a sign in the window states that Maly’s Pizza Buffet is “coming soon”, I do not know how accurate that is.

Little Miss Sunshine Restaurant (16 of 27)

In Little Miss Sunshine, the Hoover family stops at the café towards the beginning of their road trip from Albuquerque to Redondo Beach.  It is there that Olive orders waffles “alamodie” and is lambasted by her father for choosing to eat something so high in fat.



The interior of Rutt’s was used quite extensively in the filming.  Oh, what I wouldn’t have given to have been able to go inside that restaurant!



Thankfully, I was able to snap a few photographs of the interior through the front window, although they are not of the section of the restaurant that appeared in the movie.  In Little Miss Sunshine, Olive and her family dined in the southeast portion of the building, but the only area in which the blinds were not drawn was the northern part, unfortunately.  Boo!

Little Miss Sunshine Restaurant (13 of 27)

Little Miss Sunshine Restaurant (14 of 27)

The exterior of Rutt’s was also shown in the scene.



You can watch the Little Miss Sunshine restaurant scene by clicking below.

For more stalking fun, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and InstagramAnd you can check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic, here.

Big THANK YOU to smbstressfest for finding this location!  Smile

Little Miss Sunshine Restaurant (3 of 27)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The supposed Pann’s restaurant from Little Miss Sunshine is actually the former Rutt’s Hawaiian Café located at 17371 East Valley Boulevard in La Puente.  Unfortunately, the eatery is currently closed.



Leave a comment »

  1. Nicolas says:

    Guess what! This place has been opened for quite a while now 😀 I just found this page and thought I’d give you an update.
    P.S. The pizza is awesome!

    • Nicolas says:

      BTW, a couple of other movies and shows have been filmed around here (La Puente). There’s Halloween H20, the mall scene from Back To The Future, Mr & Mrs Smith (in the neighboring Industry), and others that I forgot or that are listed here:

  2. Eniotron says:

    Man, thanks for reassuring me on this location. This place is close to where i live and i pass by it at times. I knew this placed looked very familiar.

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