The Brown Derby

Los Angeles, California, USA

Demolished 1980 

The Disappointed Tourist: The Brown Derby, Ellen Harvey, 2021. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Brown Derby was an iconic restaurant in the shape of a derby hat built in 1936 at the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Alexandria Avenue in Los Angeles. It replaced the original restaurant which had been about a block away. The restaurant was featured in 1947’s “Fun and Fancy Free: Micky and the Beanstalk” — the giant puts the restaurant on his head. The Brown Derby was part of a chain; the other famous Brown Derby was in Hollywood. In September 1980, the restaurant closed without warning. Local preservationists worked to stop the building from being bulldozed and convinced developers to remove and keep the hat portion of the building. The rest of the restaurant building was demolished and replaced with a shopping center. The derby-shaped structure was placed on the roof of the new building. I couldn’t find any information about the photograph on which the painting is based.

Requested by Anon. & BRD.