A nod to nostalgia

Laurel Diner’s facelift to recall former movie theater

Renovations at popular eatery include a new look celebrating its past


Much-anticipated renovations at the Laurel Luncheonette & Diner, one of Long Beach’s longest surviving businesses, are scheduled to start later this month.

The diner, at 300 W. Park Ave., will suspend operations starting at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve for a projected five to six weeks, barring inclement weather, as workers install new furniture, kitchen equipment and stylistic features inside and out.

“[F]or those of you that were not aware, do not fear — the Laurel will retain its warmth, coziness and nostalgic feel of yesteryear that you have all grown to love,” co-owner Andrew Loucas wrote in an announcement about the renovations on the Laurel’s Facebook page Oct. 27.

Loucas and his brother, Peter, and their father, Chris, bought the 82-year-old diner in 2006. They hired Morris Nathanson Design — a Rhode Island-based firm with decades of experience building and renovating diners, restaurants, and hotels, including Disneyland Resorts, BB King’s Jazz Club, and Johnny Rocket’s — to design the renovations. The Loucas family asked MND to incorporate elements of the former Laurel movie theater, built alongside the diner at the southwest corner of Laurelton Boulevard and West Park in 1932, into the design.

“We told them our customers do not want us to lose the identity that we shared with the theater,” said Loucas, whose diner’s logo features the theater’s marquee. “And we wanted to do everything we could to keep it, to maintain it, and, if anything, to emphasize it more.”

Harkening back to the 1930s, MND will incorporate the geometric shapes, sleek lines and colors of Art Deco, a style popularized during that decade. The exterior will sport a 12-foot upright blade sign that once appeared above the theater marquee, and the existing yellow brick will remain exposed at the top half of the facade.

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