Ships Coffee Shop

The Ship's on Overland Ave. in Culver City

Christopher Columbus had three ships and restaurateur Emmett Shipman had three Ships — one in Westwood, one in Culver City and everyone’s favorite, which was the one at Olympic and La Cienega.  Each Ships was open 24 hours and it wasn’t Denny’s. In terms of cuisine, it wasn’t that much better but it felt friendlier and classier.

If you ordered breakfast, they brought you bread instead of toast and you cooked it yourself in the toaster at your table. Every table had one, plus they were all along the counter for the folks sitting there. It was another great place to get a hot turkey sandwich and I remember that a friend of mine liked to go there because they had “the coldest milk in the world.”  The waitresses were all what you’d get if you put out a casting call for “friendly coffee shop waitresses.”

All three Ships Coffee shops were opened by Shipman between 1956 and 1967 and closed within a narrow window in the eighties.  They were noted for their decor and the one at Olympic and La Cienega was used as a location in several movies.  They may be among the “most missed” defunct eateries in all of Southern California. Here’s a look at their classic menu…

To see the entire Ships menu, click above

103 Responses to Ships Coffee Shop

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

    Yo Mark…might one presume this is The Pole? (This is one of those sites that if you put your cursor in the middle of the pic/hold your mouse button down and move the mouse right/left you can swing around.)

  • Mark says:

    The only thing left from the Ships at La Cienega and Olympic is the pole in the parking lot that its sign used to sit on. The sign itself was left on the pole for a few years after they tore down the restaurant, but then the sign disappeared a few years ago. A gas station occupies the property now, on the corner on the south side of Olympic, and the east side of La Cienega. I saw the pole the other day as I drove by. It’s at the east end of the gas station close to the sidewalk on Olympic, and it’s about 18 feet high. I always sigh for Ships when I see it.

  • Chris says:

    I loved Ships on LaCienega. I was a script reader in the 1990s and I’d go late late at night- I’d sit at the table and order an omelette and make my own toast. Fantastic.

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