C.C. Brown’s

I’m always suspicious of restaurants that claim to have invented some item that you now find on menus everywhere. In Philadelphia, there are at least three places that will swear to you the Philly steak sandwich was first served on their premises, and there are two in L.A. alone (Phillipe’s and Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet) that insist they originated the French Dip.

Legend has it that the hot fudge sundae was the creation of one Clarence Clifton Brown, serving patrons a dish of ice cream with a little apply-it-yourself flask of molten chocolate. This supposedly occurred in his parlor in downtown L.A. in 1906. In 1929, his son Cliff moved the business to 7007 Hollywood Boulevard, just down the street from Grauman’s Chinese Theater. There it stood for decades, serving sundaes to celebrities and to tourists who came by to watch the celebrities eat sundaes. Its lush interior — mahogany booths with pink leather seats — was seen in several movies including Minnie and Moscowitz.

I went there the first time as a kid in the mid-sixties and the sundae was delicious but a bit of a disappointment. From all I’d heard about it in advance, I was expecting something that would put your basic Baskin-Robbins sundae to shame…and the one at C.C. Brown’s was only marginally better. Which is not to say it was anything but delicious. I just imagined the world’s greatest hot fudge sundae, as I’d long heard it was, would do something more than just taste good.

The establishment on Hollywood Boulevard finally closed in 1996, its final days marked by a stampede of patrons who acted like they might never taste a decent hot fudge sundae again. The company seems to still exist, franchising the name and selling fudge and yogurt and (I think) ice cream, as well. In many a restaurant, you can still find the assertion that they’re serving a C.C. Brown hot fudge sundae indistinguishable from the original…but I’ll bet most of those places microwave the fudge.

67 Responses to C.C. Brown’s

  • Marianne Kanter says:

    Lawry’s Prime Rib in Beverly Hills is the only restaurant I know of which both serves CC Brown’s Hot Fudge Sauce on their sundaes & sells it to the public in jars:
    C.C. Brown’s Hot Fudge Sauce
    Case of Four Jars
    Your Price: $32.00

  • Jan says:

    My family and friends loved C.C. Brown’s. We went in the 1940s when the ice cream was served in a tulip shaped bowl and the sundae was all of 35 cents. We loved those hot fudge sundaes and in the years since my last visit in the early 1950s I haven’t found an ice cream sundae as good as theirs.
    C.C. Brown’s remains a fond memory of the years when I lived in Los Angeles.

  • Carole Talaway says:

    My family used to eat sundaes here from the 50’s until the 80’s. The Schumachers who took it over took the place down in quality and quantity. They started skimping on the ice cream and raised the price. The father was lazy and let the kids do most of the work. I stopped going there when the changes made it less than what I remembered from the 50’s and 60’s.

  • Kurt Matthews says:

    In 1973, when I was 26 years-old, friends of mine lived in Hollywood. They told me that C.C. Brown lived across the street and told me the story of his famous ice cream parlor. I had recently moved to LA from New York and didn’t know much about local history

    I attended a dinner party at my friends’ home one night at which Mr. and Mrs. Brown were guests. They appeared to be somewhere in their mid to late 70s. I enjoy hearing stories of the past from people who lived it and sought out Mr. Brown to ask him about Old Hollywood. He told me stories about luminaries he knew which I can’t remember after 44 years.

    It turned out that an accomplishment of which he was particularly proud was his discovery of a kind of liquid chocolate that would solidify when touched by cold ice cream. That was the beginning of the chocolate dipped ice cream cone. He said that this product was the big draw for celebrities of the day. He did not mention his famed sundaes.

    My recolection of the man is that he was very charming, easy to talk to and an all-around good guy.

  • Bob B says:

    Joann Brown,
    Contact info is at the bottom of the page.

  • joann brown says:

    Just noticed David Solzbergs post about menu’s How can I contact him?

  • joann brown says:

    I used to love their ‘chocolate and coffee frosteds’. They would line a tall glass with real whipped cream and then fill it with either a choc or a coffee milk shake! Pretty amazing!! Does anyone have one of their old menu’s??

  • The Jerk says:

    I laugh at how everyone loved the chocolate sauce. What no one know was that the little pitchers were drained upside down before they were washed. The recovered gallon was then added to the new batch. If they had to post Health Dept grades in those days this was just one of the things that would have closed them.

  • Sara H. Beeby says:

    My husband and I would like to buy CC Brown’s chocolate sauce. Is it available?

  • David Solzberg says:

    I am a food photographer and many years ago I was able to photograph a large collection of old Hollywood menus. I have copies of CC Brown original menu available for sale.
    11×14″ print on heavy paper – Suitable for framing – $25.00 (free delivery)
    Many for other Los Angeles Landmark menu’s available (Interior and Exterior): Adriano’s, Bernard’s, Brown Derby, Bull + Bush, Bullock’s Tea Room, Chasen’s, Cock & Bull, Coconut Grove, Cove, DalRae, Dino’s Lodge, Hungry Tiger, L’Ermitage, L’Escoffer, La Scalla, Ma Maison, Musso & Frank, Perino’s, Rex, Scandia, Tic Toc, Trump’s and many more.

  • Bruce Kimmel says:

    I was a regular there from the mid-1950s. When the Schumacher’s bought it I watched their kids grow up, and yes, they all worked there. The dad was NOT mean as someone posits – the whole family was great and they loved me because I was there two or three times a week all through the 70s up until they closed. I’d buy three or four hundred dollars in gift certificates every Christmas. The kids were all smart and fun – several became chiropractors, including Heidi, who was always my favorite. They called me to tell me they were closing (the dad had died several years earlier) and I was working in NY, but I flew home and attended the final day, and then the private party they had for us regulars, which was on a Sunday. I wish I’d gotten one of the ceramic things. Then they sold online – I wrote a trilogy of novels about my childhood in LA, and in the first of them there was a lot about C.C. Brown’s – so I sent them a copy of it, and a few days later they sent me two cases of the fudge. I still have five or six jars from back then that I keep as little keepsakes.

  • Carole Slater says:

    My parents went to CC Brown’s frequently throughout the 40’s and 50’s, for sure. My mom began taking me when I was around 6 or 7. We lived in the Hollywood Hills, so a movie followed by a sundae was heaven sent! The fudge then was unlike any I’ve tasted or even attempted to make, since. It was fudge, but it caramelized as soon as it hit the cool ice cream! As Jeanne Denee says, the almonds were unsurpassed, the ice cream as good or even better than Haagen Daz and accompanied by a banana made a super “Buster Brown” sundae. Remember? I am disappointed to hear it was sold to Lawry’s. Commerce, that’s all there is to it! I don’t blame the Brown’s family!

  • John Hindsill says:

    Jeanne, that’s way too much to pay , even for C.C.Brown. Maybe just a wisdom tooth would be enough; it certainly would be a wiser cost.

  • Jeanne Denee says:

    I too went there during high school, in the ’60s, and got addicted to the hot fudge sundaes. My girlfriend and I decided to try to work there, in addition to our day jobs, to save enough money to go to Hawaii. And they hired us! What a perfect job. Sundaes every time we came to work. The hot fudge was perfect, the chopped almonds were perfect, and the vanilla ice cream was the best. I missed C.C. Browns went it closed, and would probably give a kidney to experience that sundae again.

  • Darrel Roberts says:

    My dad took me there in 1973, shortly after we moved to Southern California. He showed me a booth where he and my mom used to sit when they were dating in 1943. Their initials were carved on the table support. So sad it is no longer there. I always wanted to show my sister their initials.

  • Georgina Brown says:

    Brown’s Ice Cream parlor featured prominently into my odd So Cal childhood. Brought up by Canadian parent living in California, I knew the best of both countries. And Brown’s was a favorite meeting spot for our family (Mom’s maiden name was Brown) and our friends, the Browns. My Mom’s friend knew of the ice cream there, as she had frequented the parlor as a child actor when she had been working in movies with Mary Pickford, and was taken there often if she was a good girl! So sadly it is gone, and the Browns can no longer meet the Browns at Brown’s, but the memory of their decadent hot fudge lives on in my memory! Years later my Mother came up with a recipe that was a fine substitute for those days when nothing else will do but a Hot Fudge Sundae!

  • Joyce Tamara says:

    I can’t believe that no one has mentioned that which to me was the most unusual feature of CC Browns…child labor! When I started going in the eighties, it looked like an entire family of 5 worked there. Son, daughter, Mean Daddy (as I called him). Their portrait was on the wall, wasn’t it? I had never been served by a 12 year old at 9 or 10 at night and it freaked me out. I always wondered how they felt about their servitude, and now as I sit in Tam O Shanter reliving the glories of that sundae, I wondered what happened to those kids and if they can stomach the smell of hot fudge to this day!

  • Bob in Irvine says:

    Sadly, the “CC Brown’s” sauce now sold at Lawry’s restaurants is primarily corn syrup. There’s no way the sauces at the former CC Brown’s in Hollywood was polluted with corn syrup.

    My fiance bought some, and it looks and tastes like any other cheap supermarket jarred fudge. On a 10 scale, it gets a 6.5, and that’s being generous.

    Don’t believe you’re getting anything resembling the real thing.

  • Bob Brown says:

    In the 1950s and early 60s, I used to have lunch (yes, they also served sandwiches) at C.C. Brown’s a couple of times a month and accompany my parents to see an afternoon major studio release at the Chinese or one of the other prominent movie theaters in the Hollywood area. A great place and many good memories.

  • Jack Ince says:

    I lived on Orchid Ave — just a block from Grauman’s and Brown’s.
    I would play tennis at the Garden of Eden hotel, go across tthe street to the Gotham Hotel for a pastrami sandwich and then on the Brown’s.
    It was a touch of heaven in Hollywood.

  • Lynn Shepodd (@homesinla) says:

    The best, in my view was the hot caramel sundae. Diminutive and awesome.

    The hot fudge recipe is still served at Tam o Shanter on Los Feliz since they (Van de Kamps) bought the recipe. The best thing to do at home is NEVER use sliced almonds only rough chopped as in the photo, and make your whipped cream in a charger. You will come close.

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    Lest someone, like a tourist, take exception to (Grauman’s) “Egyptian”, such existed a few blocks to the East on Hollywood Blvd. (Pardon, don’t know how long this map is viable: http://tinyurl.com/m5qp4fr; history: http://tinyurl.com/2gb42f)

  • Mary Anne says:

    Loved their hot fudge sundaes. My mom and aunt took me there after we saw “Gone With the Wind” at the Egyptian Theater (a re-release about 1952 or so). In the early 1960’s, a big deal date for me was a first-run “Limited release” movie in Hollywood, and a stop at Brown’s afterwards. No place like it.

  • Aston Banniser says:

    DeMlle is still taking his Daughters there..and hobnobbing with Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford ……..in Hot Fudge Heaven..

  • Frank says:

    The original neon sign from CC Browns is on e-bay for sale item number #141204676613. Super cool, if I had the money I would buy it and but it in my man cave. Great memories

  • Derek Galloway says:

    My Grandparents would take my mother and her sister there in the late 40’s they all loved to eat the Hot Fudge Sundaes , my mother would take me I really loved it there and thought the Father, Wife, daughters who would help serve us where really nice the whole family business was just a fun place to go I grew up going there from the 70’s off and on til the 90’s. I moved away from Hollywood but I miss all the great places especially C.C Browns.

  • sarah says:

    I worked at CC browns when they re-opened in the schwabs shopping center in Hollywood around 2006. Didn’t last very long. The heir and a partner decided to keep it going. The guy he partnered with was an idiot – on my last shift before the place closed, he decided to take drugs and get naked in the middle of the store. Very sad.

  • Alan Jacobs says:

    During the war, my mom and I lived in a boarding house on LaBrea just a few blocks from C.C.Brown’s. My pop was in the Navy shooting at “Japs”, and sending money home each month. We didn’t have much just then and my only treat was to go the Hitching Post on Hollywood, right across the street from the Pantages Theater where the Academy Awards were held. After Roy Rogers and Bob Steele, Johnny Mac Brown, Gene Autry et. al. which my mom lovingly withstood for a couple of hours we would walk back up Hollywood, maybe stop at Grauman’s Chinese to look at the footprints, and then to C.C Brown’s for, what I remember now some 70 years later, a luscious Hot Fudge Sunday: hot roasted almonds in a cup that you spooned on top of the vanilla ice cream and the the milk chocolate Hot served in crock. If I promised to be a really good boy for the next week, she’d let me have a second one. I was always sorry when we finished and kept with it was Saturday a week.

  • Will Hamblet says:

    No, the spoon did not fit in the pot. So, you turned the spoon around & dug out the fudge with the other end. At least that’s what I did!

  • Robert Abooey says:

    Like so many other great institutions, sadly CC Brown’s is no longer around.

    My wife and I used to love going there when we were dating and after we were married. The old time atmosphere and furnishings were great! Their Tin Roof Sundae was my favorite.

  • jim says:

    I remember that the spoon did not fit in the little ceramic pot that the thick hot, hot fudge came in, most frustrating indeed! My dad took dates there back in the way, way olden days. (I too went there after seeing West Side Story at Grauman’s Chinese with my mom). The almonds were perfect, and the ice cream much more butterfatty that the Hagaan Das they now trademarkingly use at Lawrys.

    Picture of the pitcher is at

  • Will Hamblet says:

    Yes, they do. Makes for great stocking stuffers during the holidays.

  • L Morrison says:

    My friend, Marguerite, took me there after a movie, as I remember. The fudge was made with bourbon extract instead of vanilla. They sold cans of it to-go. I was so disappointed to hear that it’s gone. Ditto for Carnation’s down on Wilshire and Jack’s drive-in on old Route 66. And the other posters are right, it wasn’t just the fudge. It was a step into the past. The employees were engaging and friendly. If Lawry’s DOES have the license, do they sell the fudge? Enquiring minds want to know.

  • CynDS says:

    The hot fudge is now served at Lawry’s and its earliest restaurant, Tam O’Shanter (on Los Feliz, on the Glendale side). It’s nowhere as good as it used to be, or even as it was when it was packaged and available at stores like Bristol Farm in the recent past.

  • Ron Holmstrom says:

    About 1976 0r 1977, my friend Jimmy Schuster and I auditioned for parts in ‘Dracula’ at a little playhouse next door to CC Brown’s. We got call backs, Jimmy for the role of Van Helsing, myself for Renfield. When we went to the theatre a couple of days later, it was locked up, so we went next door and had sundaes. We never saw the producer again and the production never happened, but Browns became a favorite of mine.

  • Alexandria Ave says:

    CC Brown’s was truly an L.A. classic! Add Thrifty’s ice cream and what more did you need? It was truly an institution-that will never be recreated, but can live on through Lawry’s version of the famous recipe. Try it, as it is much better than a “microwaved” jar of any other sauce. It still is out there and it is good!

  • TG says:

    I found out and went to this ice cream store a block down from the Chinese theater. I had the specialty, chocolate sundae. I was greatly disappointed because the taste was terrible and full of rubbery milk fat. I left and couldn’t agree that the hand-made ice cream was anything but disgusting. Thrift drug store ice cream was better tasting and 85% of the over price at C.C.s. YUK!

  • Jim D. says:

    When I was growing up in the 1950’s, my Grandmother used to take me to
    CC Brown’s on Sunday afternoons, usually after a visit to Travel Town in Griffith Park. It wasn’t just the Sundaes, it was the whole feeling of the building, the booths, the very high ceiling, the light fixtures, the sounds and the smells. The sandwiches were good, and they had their own line of chocolate candy that was a rival for See’s. I continued to go there occasionally, until they closed in 1996. It was one of the first places I took my Wife when we first started dating.

  • Nancy Siris-Rawls says:

    Memories from childhood. I took my future husband there on our first date. The best hot fudge sundaes ever.

  • Will Hamblet says:

    Take her to The Tamoshanter. Even the almonds taste like they did at CC Brown’s.

  • H. Hume says:

    My mom, who’s 80 yrs old, has been away for 8 years. She’s finally coming for a visit. She’s the type of person that won’t ask for a thing ever! I asked her what would you like to do 1st (since she was raised from 14 yrs old in Hollywood, CA).
    The only thing that was on her wish list to do was to visit CC Brown and have a hot fudge sundae.
    Now what am I going to do? I would give her the world and now there’s no CC Brown.

  • Bob W. says:

    The new website for the CC Brown Hot Fudge is: http://shop.lawrysonline.com/e-store/prod_details.asp?pid=11221331591200&pcid=7927396476

    $32 for 4 bottles. Would last 2, maybe 3 nights at my house.

  • Dana Gabbard says:

    The Tam O’Shanter in L.A.’s Los Feliz district (owned by Lawry’s) has C.C. Brown hot fudge sundaes. Tasted good when I ate there recently. P.S. Walt Disney used to frequent the place, has that old world charm and good food: <a href="http://www.lawrysonline.com/tam-oshanter&quot;

  • Ned Hannah says:

    I lived on Franklin in the early 1990s, about a block and a half from C.C. Brown’s. At least once a week I had a sandwich there, followed by a hot fudge sundae. So sad to visit Hollywood and see C.C. Brown’s was gone!

  • Larry Parker says:

    We had just arrived back in L.A. from a two week trip to France and Italy.. So we couldn’t settle down and decided to stop in to CC Brown’s for a Sundae. We splurged for an extra metal caraf of caramel and fudge … I told the waiter about the extra charge “No problem” When the check came… I realized we had no money… “Whoooops!” We promised to come back and pay another time….. I explained how I owned a restaurant in BH…. but I felt so stupid! They let us leave…. I did go back the next day and paid my bill…. We’ll never forget how foolish I felt ordering like a bigshot with no cash!!

  • Bob of Los Ranchos, NM says:

    A delight in the big, dark brown booths after seeing West Side Story at Grauman’s Chinese next door, some sort of concert at the Hollywood Bowl, etc.

  • Ted Sanchez says:

    I used to deliver chocolate there in the early 80’s, I loved the feel just walking in! Everyone that worked there was awesome! Too bad it’s gone we need more places like that!

  • john says:

    I went out to Hollywood in 1982 to work on movies. I lived out of a mini home and parked it in the Safeway grocery store parking lot and lived there. Evening when I had extra money I would go to C.C.’s and have a hot fudge Sunday or an egg cream. I miss that.

  • Dennis Copelan says:

    Lawry’s bought the rights to C.C.Brown’s. You can order a C.C. Brown’s sundae at any one of their restaurants.

  • Mary Lou Wallace says:

    My best friend Walt Mitchell and I always made a point of going to C.C. Brown’s when we visited Hollywood and were saddened when it closed, especially since we missed the closing by a bout 3 weeks. We enjoyed the hot fudge sundaes but what we enjoyed even more was talking with longtime owner John Schumacher. I guess he enjoyed talking with us, too, because when we stopped in during our annual trek, he remembered us.

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