Tracton’s

Here’s everything I remember about Tracton’s, a restaurant my family frequented for many years: It was on La Cienega down near Rodeo, across from what was then a Fedco membership department store (we were members) and is now a Target.  The place was friendly inside and they served big hunks of meat.  I usually had the chopped steak, which was basically just a very thick hamburger patty.  I also remember an odd argument with a waitress once when my aunt asked for a doggie bag so she could take the rest of her dinner home and the waitress accused her of not having a dog.  Which was true.  My aunt didn’t have a dog but what business was that of the waitress?

I also remember that when Tracton’s closed, the building became one of those places that’s a different restaurant every time you drive by as one after another goes out of business.  Finally, one closed down and stayed closed for a couple years until the building was torn down.  And that’s all I remember about it.

Research has yielded the info that it was opened and owned by a gent named Harold “Red” Tracton who played host to all sorts of L.A. notables, mobster-types included. There was also a Tracton’s downtown and he operated the Buggy Whip restaurant near LAX (and still in business), the Salem House which was in the Farmers Market and the restaurant at the Fox Hills Country Club. Before that, he had Norm and Red’s Green Lake Cafe out in Pasadena. The most famous of all these — the Tracton’s on La Cienega that my family visited — opened there in 1956, then moved to Encino in ’78. In 1988, that place was sold and is now a Chevys Fresh Mex Restaurant. Red moved to Del Mar and opened a restaurant that’s still open (and quite successful) as Red Tracton’s, operated by his daughter Tracy. Red passed away in 1999 but his tradition of serving big hunks of meat continues.

65 Responses to Tracton’s

  • Bob Borgen says:

    I have a great memory of sitting and drinking with Harry Nilsson (with a brandy glass ordered in honor of his friend Ringo) on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death in 1981.

  • Randall Michael Tobin says:

    Wow… just happened to find this post while searching for Poor Richard’s restaurant in Ladera Heights. I lived in the house on Bowesfield where our back yard and Tracton’s parking lot were separated by a cinder block wall which I used to hop over whenever I wanted to go to Rodeo Bowl (which was nearly every day!). Our neighbor in the corner house was James Consalvo, who ran the valet parking operation. James’ dad was a handyman and maintained parts of the restaurant using his cool wood shop in his garage. When I was old enough to drive, I got a job parking cars at Tracton’s. One time I got a $100 tip from a guy who had an old beat-up station wagon! (I got to keep $95 of that tip.) Getting to work and home again didn’t get any easier! My folks would eat at Tracton’s on occasion and I loved stealing a bite from the doggie bags that usually came home after their dinner. I (and my brother and 4 sisters) lived in that house from 1960 to 1971. Went to Baldwin Hills elementary and hung out with Danny Elfman, Randy Levin, Randy Lubin, Jeff Reich, Mirek Szadkowski and Bill O’Rullian. Believe it or not, BHE had a combined 50/51 year reunion August 2016 and over 80 people showed up! It was the best reunion EVER! The next day was a special Reunion BBQ Picnic at Kenneth Hahn park and Danny was there. As for FEDCO, that was the BEST store EVER! In later years I shopped at the FEDCO stores in Pasadena and Van Nuys. Sad to see it go. Guess I’ll bookmark this page and see if any of my comments resonate with anyone.

  • Doug sherman says:

    He was my mom’s uncle. I did eat there with her in the 70s and recalled the green goddess dressing

  • Dale Marie says:

    To add to my above comment….My mom and I visited Blairs in the 60’s and 70’s.

  • Dale says:

    I, too remember Blair’s across from Robinson’s. My mom would take me as a young girl and we would order chicken sandwiches, tea and warm yellow cake with a chocolate fudge frosting. I miss Blair’s so much. My mom and I had many wonderful lunches there.

  • Lisa Hoffman ( My mom was Dee) says:

    My Mom worked at Tracton’s as a waitress in the late 1950’s. She had so many wonderful stories about “Red” and the celebrity clients. Red was very good to her ( my mom was a divorce! a big deal back then. She had 2 kids and ha no financial help from their dad) and often sent food home for her and my sister and brother. I’m sad I never got to ear there, but did have many meals at the Buggy Whip with my parents when I was young. It’s where I first had rack of lamb, one of my very favorite meals.

  • Dana Romo6 says:

    My dad Jack and Red were partners. Anyone remember him? He worked lunch and one night and week. He would take me there on Sunday mornings to help in the office.

  • John of Glendale says:

    Sue: I think the sandwich shop you are remembering was Blair’s Sandwich Shop. It was much closer to Robinson’s than to Bullock’s. The waitresses did indeed wear “uniforms.” Several of my co-workers and I had lunch there just a few days before it closed (early 1983, I believe). They were known for their egg salad sandwiches among other things (as you mentioned). My Grandmother used to eat lunch there in the Thirties when she would come Downtown from the Westside to shop at Robinson’s. Blair’s also had delicious bakery goods. I think I also picked up one of their great Caramel Layer Cakes to take home the day we were all there for lunch.

  • John of Glendale says:

    Hi Sue:

    I think the lunch cafe/restaurant you are remembering was Blair’s Sandwich Shop. The waitress did indeed wear uniforms. I remember eating there just before it closed (early 1983, I believe). It was very close to Robinson’s. My grandmother used to eat there in the Thirties when she would come Downtown from the Westside to shop at Robinsons. They also had delicious bakery goods (such as a great caramel cake).

  • Thomas Lantry says:

    I’m looking for anyone who remembers the “Admiral’s Dinghy” restaurant and bar in Marina Del Rey. I believe in the 70’s or 80’s. I acquired a beautiful 3 in
    thick redwood sign approx 3ft x 4ft. The name is in relief on both sides, and
    there are the two original chains attached to the heads of the 3ft long bolts
    that are holding the 3 planks together.

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

    Alas….as a PostScript Sue, hope you are able to complete e.g. The Paradise http://tinyurl.com/jzz9553 via Netflix.

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

    Yo Sue: Per reading your Comment, “Clifton’s” popped into my head…don’t know why as I was a SC student who had no reason to be familiar with “downtown” except for my curiosity per coming from “back East”. Alas, Bullock’s was originally at Broadway and 7th (vs apparently being Burlington herein): http://tinyurl.com/zyy5lbs Place your cursor under the red parking sign and while holding down the Left mouse button, move your mouse to the right.. Check out this history http://tinyurl.com/hljqaqu as well as this: http://www.cliftonsla.com/ Hope this is it as it sounds like the type of staff that would be there. Let us know one way or another! Bon Appetite!

  • sue says:

    Does anyone remember the lunch cafe in downtown Los Angeles, across the street from Bullocks? The waitresses were all 50 years plus, loyal employees who worked their for decades. They wore uniforms. It was not diner-ish but more of an upscale lunch location. I cannot remember the name of it but they had the best egg salad sandwich.

  • Phil Ehrens says:

    A popular joke with the local kids was “Tracton’s… Spell it backwards!”

  • Greg Irvine says:

    John Engstrom, you have the placement of the buildings correct. To the east was Rodeo Bowl and Pepy’s was kitty/corner and of course Fedco to the west & Atlantic Richfield station to the south across street..My mother worked at Tracton’s for 30 years. Also knew Teddy and Red and Bobby the manager for years.

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