We’re talking here about a small chain called The Great American Food & Beverage Company. There were a couple of these around Los Angeles in the early seventies…one in Westwood, one in Santa Monica and maybe others. The two things I remember about them are that the portions were huge to the point of being impractical — you’d haul home about 80% of your entree and live off it for days — and that the servers would take turns performing with a small live band. Once, I ordered a hamburger and they brought me this footstool-sized mass of meat and bun surrounded by enough fries to stock a McDonald’s for a month.

But I was sans ketchup, and when I turned to ask our waiter for some, I found him up on a platform, performing what turned out to be the world’s longest version of “Rubberband Man.” I think he did about ninety choruses while I failed to flag down any other employee and my burger cooled to tepid. Finally, long after I’d given up any chance of having the hamburger the way I liked it and had begun to eat it dry, the waiter noted the omission, hopped down from stage and fetched me a bottle of Heinz while still performing “Rubberband Man.” It was one of those moments when you almost feel like you ought to tip.

53 Responses to GAF&BC

  • Julie Varon says:

    I was a singing hostess at the one at Santa Monica Blvd & La Cienga. Fun memories.

  • john tyers says:

    In the late 60’s early 70’s, there was a restaurant/bar on Santa Monica Blvd., probably 10 blocks from the beach on the Montana Blvd. side of the street, that featured server/performers. At random times the servers would go to one of several columns in the room, turn on a mounted light above them and sing. They were all pros and very good and it was a blast. Does this ring a bell with anyone? Would like to know the name of the place. Thanks.

  • JOHN BUCK says:

    I remember working as a cook at the The Great American Food and Beverage Company, in November in 1978, with Peter Tork of the Monkees, it was a great job of an 18 year old, who wasn’t very experienced, and a new dad to boot.

    Peter held my new baby daughter and sang her a lullaby, she’s now 40 years old. Great times and great food. I thinking about a The Great American Food and Beverage Company revival, and have started working on the makeover on the concept.

    anybody interested in talking to me about the Venture recreation, can contact me at :: ULTRA18INNOVATIONS @ GMAIL

    The Great American Food and Beverage Company shall rise again, to make its conceptual revival, that will carry o nthe traditions and retro vibe of Poppy and the crew who started it all.

    Thanks to all who are interested in seeing this become a reality again.

    P.S. Any contributions of signs, menue’s, logo’s etc, would be appreciated

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