Lloyd Wright Designed A Grocery Store – 1928 – It Could Have Been One Of My Holy Places

lloyd wright yucca vine market 1928I hope nobody takes offense – but a good market qualifies as one of my holy places.

Now, I’m not talking about the overwhelming stupor that besets people in the aisles at Whole Foods and causes them to block traffic with their cart as they cast their eyes toward heaven, possibly for guidance… Or maybe they’re experiencing The Rapture… Who can say?

I’m talking about the bounty, and the possibility of beautiful meals, and the quiet amid the crowd where you can see your menu set out before you.

Of course, I’m talking about the middle-aged woman’s experience. But, I do remember the Mayfair market at the base of the Hollywood Hills on Franklin where I swear people wandered around looking for that indefinable something… Or a one night stand. (That phrase predates “hook-up” — anyone know what the current term is for a brief encounter?) For high-end victuals there was the Chalet Gourmet on Sunset — where you’d shop for delicacies and hear the occasional pick-up line from — you know, I better be discreet, but just think movie stars of the eighties.

I don’t see much social activity at the grocery store these days, maybe I’m not looking, or maybe I’m pondering what to do with a purple cauliflower.


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  1. George Kaplan
    July 13, 2013

    Wow! Just imagine: a grocery store designed by Frank Lloyd Wright… Art and utility in one. Fabulous post. I love the idea of grocery stores or markets as “holy places”; you’re right the excessively air-conditioned supermarkets today where people *clump* bovinely blocking the aisles with their shopping carts while babbling and then turn dead eyes upon you when you want them to move *so you can get some shopping done* count as Hells. Ha. I love your vision of shopping as something profound, a search for that indefinable something that will make for the Perfect Meal. Now, that is a Dream.
    Oh, Warren Beatty! (movie star of the ’80s. Well, yeah, but the ’70s was his golden era, the ’80s brought Ishtar! Ulp!) That makes me laugh, I suppose if you have a superpower it’s too much of a temptation not to use it 😉 Although hanging around the Chalet Gourmet for that express purpose seems a bit much!
    “The middle-aged woman’s experience…” Pffft! It’s wonderful. I adore your amusing and evocative recollections and outlook, Mrs Lester. 🙂

    • July 15, 2013

      What do you call them Mr. Kaplan? Stepford shoppers?

  2. July 13, 2013

    And what of The Beachwood Market? Any good items to pick up there? Food or “Howdy Handsome” lines…I don’t care LOL.

    • July 15, 2013

      I swear fealty to the Beachwood Market!

  3. July 13, 2013

    I see what you mean by this. I would spend a lot of money here.

  4. July 13, 2013

    Dearest V
    T minus ten seconds and counting to gastronomic lift off.
    This looks like where the ingredients for meals of the future can be bought!
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • July 15, 2013

      It was advertized as a drive-up market — I think that meant you could call in your order and they would deliver it to your car… Very LA, once upon a time.

  5. July 13, 2013

    Or maybe you can’t think because your brain has been overtaken by THAT MUSIC which changes according to the time of day and the people who traditionally shop at that particular hour. But, you have touched upon one of my dreams; a place where it is a pleasure to shop. On line grocery shops have become my lifeline 🙁

    • July 15, 2013

      That music! You are so absolutely right!

  6. August 5, 2014

    I do love the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, impractical though some of it may be. (He refused to design houses with garages, for example, considering them an eye-sore. And he may have been right…I’m trying to imagine *one* house I’ve ever seen with an aesthetically-pleasing garage.)

    Ken Burns did a great FLW documentary about ten or so years ago. Highly recommended if you haven’t seen it.

    • August 7, 2014

      I’m with you and FLW on the garage issue, although it’s a slight improvement if the garage is separate and set back down the drive from the house.
      Love Ken Burns! Will watch the documentary, thank you!

  7. August 5, 2014


    • August 7, 2014

      Truly! And a great reminder that what we think of as modern design took root in the teens and twenties 😉 .

  8. August 6, 2014

    That soaring awning ROCKS! Makes me think of burgers, fries, and shakes brought by girls on roller skates. As for grocery stores, nobody has better grocery stores than the south (NC especially)… clean, well-lit, aisles wide enough to drive a tractor trailer through, a huge selection of good wines, extensive selection of quality produce. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in NY, but we could sure take a lesson on grocery stores from the other side of the Mason-Dixon!

    • August 7, 2014

      Gorgeous! And I’m trying to think what’s there now… It used to be a kind of plain building with a Greek diner in it. As to grocery stores with wide-open spaces—wonderful!

  9. August 8, 2014

    How cool. I would want to shop there as well. Do you know where it was and what year it was torn down?

    • August 8, 2014

      6319-6331 Yucca Street, Los Angeles. I just looked on Google Maps, it’s a parking lot now! I’m not certain what year it was torn down… There’s a book I remember called Googie Redux (about fifties futuristic architecture) that had a bit specifically about the market design setting the stage… but I can’t remember the author noted when it was razed 🙁 .

      • August 8, 2014

        Yucca? That’s just up the street from me. I’ll probably drive by it today! Thank you for digging up and sharing this treasure!

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