Three months post 9/11, The 101 Coffee Shop made its debut. Formerly known as The Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop, the diner was immortalized in the cult-classic SWINGERS (1996) and made instant stars of Jon Favreau and his real-life buddy, Vince Vaughn. Partners Warner Ebbink, and chef Brandon Boudet were the proud owners of this hidden gem that was housed on the ground floor of a Best Western Plus, at 6145 Franklin Avenue in Hollywood.
When I lived in LA, this coffee shop was my personal favorite (next to Norm's on La Cienega) due to its all-day breakfast, delicious milkshakes and mid-century decor. Who knew this unassuming, road-side motel housed one of the coolest and beloved diners in all of Los Angeles. This Covid closure came to my attention due to comedian Patton Oswalt's tweet in early January. Immediately, I Googled The 101 and all the recent posts confirmed the sad truth: They were gone for good. Social media was abuzz as heartfelt tributes and late-night recollections came pouring in under the hashtag: #101COFFEESHOP .
The 101 quietly closed its doors in March of 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This, was supposed to be temporary. For a short time they tried take-out orders, but with no outdoor seating, there was no way to recoup the financial loss. The sobering reality was that with no possible date as to when the pandemic and restaurant restrictions would end, owners Ebbink and Boudet made the decision to stay shuttered for good. Not only were they business partners for the past 19 years, they each met their wives at The 101. Longtime, dedicated staff members Sally Stewart and Ebony Maroney, started a Go Fund Me campaign for their co-workers once the official announcement was made in early January. The goal of $100,000 has so far amassed $11,301 for its displaced staff.
Last April Swingers coffee shop on Beverly Boulevard announced their closure, and by sheer tenacity and a loyal fan-base, were able to escape closing with a Go Fund Me that raised $50,000, and was acquired by its former General Manager. They re-opened in November of 2020 to much fanfare. Unfortunately, The 101 Coffee Shop could not be saved. This beloved diner with classic, comfort food staples -as well as vegan and vegetarian options- would not have a happy ending. No longer will you see your favorite tattooed waitress serving a family of four that just ventured down Beachwood Canyon for their buttermilk waffles, and massive club sandwich; no longer will you be able to sit at the counter and listen to the annoying cinephile on the stool next to you, talking up his latest screen-play that will never come to fruition.
It truly is the end of an era. All we are left with is their Twitter and web pages that have yet to be de-activated, and of course, our memories of one of the coolest diners in the universe. RIP 101.