Iconic Formosa Cafe to reopen under new owners

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The Formosa Cafe is a Los Angeles landmark that dates back to the golden days of Hollywood and is about to reopen under new ownership.

Featured in the film "LA Confidential" among others, the Formosa Cafe is a a Hollywood landmark that got its start in an old train car in 1925.

Today it holds decades of celebrity secrets.

Bobby Green with the 1933 Group, who has restored a number of LA icons, describes the Formosa as "kind of like a Hollywood museum."

It is a revered gem, from the days of Bugsy Siegel, when the Las Vegas mobster had his private safe in the floor of the Formosa, to the 1990s when celebrity hipsters hung out there.

"Any celebrity you could possibly name frequented the place," Green said. "For instance, John Wayne was a regular. There's one particular story: He would get so blottoed at night that he would pass out in the booth and Lem Quon, the owner at the time, would just lock him in for the night."

"And he'd come in the next morning and John Wayne is making eggs for breakfast in the kitchen."

Last year the Formosa Cafe shut down. Now Bobby Green and Dimitri Komarov are working to preserve and restore the historic corner bar to its old glory days, with the decor it was famous for.

Green and Komarov bought the Formosa from the grandson of long-time owner Lem Quon. Green says he kept all the celebrity photographs, memorabilia, decanters and lighting.

"So we're going to get all that back," Green said. "The floors were changed, the vinyl booths were changed, the walls were changed so every surface needs to be retouched. And retouched with a strong eye on what it really looked like back in the day."

Back in the day when Elvis Presley allegedly, famously gave a waitress a Cadillac after forgetting to tip her the night before. Or if you're a little younger, back in the day could mean back to the '90s.

Green and Komarov say they are waiting on permit approvals to break ground but they hope to open the doors of the new Formosa Cafe by the end of 2018.
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