There were at least three M’Goo’s Restaurants — one in Pasadena serving the Cal Tech crowd, one in Westwood Village serving the U.C.L.A. crowd, one on Hollywood Boulevard serving transients and derelicts, some of whom had once been in the Cal Tech and U.C.L.A. crowds. All seemed dedicated to the proposition that pizza is best enjoyed when the music is so loud it makes the pepperoni curl. These were “party” places that I gathered had once been exclusively in Gay 90’s decor but by the time I visited the two I visited (Westwood and Hollywood), someone had given up and haphazardly slapped modern posters and decorations on top of the classic ambiance.

My memories of the few times I could stand to be in them is that they had sports on the TV, silent movies running on a screen and a music system cranked up way beyond Spinal Tap’s infamous 11. As if that and the mediocre pizza didn’t send you babbling into the streets, employees wearing straw hats would occasionally leap up onto the tables and lead everyone in singing a song other than the one currently coming through the speakers. Some claimed that if you listened hard, you could hear the sound of one M’Goo’s at both of the other M’Goo’s. They’ve all been defunct for several decades and I’m not sure I still don’t catch the occasional echo.

31 Responses to M’Goo’s

  • Nancy Collins says:

    Did M’Goos have go-go girls? I ask, because my 1st husband’s uncle used to run a chain of pizza places called M’Goos or Magoos (my husband at the time couldn’t remember how it was spelled) in that area and time-frame, and all he remembers is that there were go-go girls who danced & waited tables.

  • Mark Berney says:

    I still have a M’Goos Kazoo. Fond memories for sure.

  • Michael Bryant says:

    I have sing along sheet from M’GOOS. Hard to tell what decade it’s from. Maybe the 30’s? 40’s? Really cool item that I’m fairly certain that very few, if any, others remain.

  • Don says:

    I have a M’Goo’s Sing Along Sheet from 6651 Hollywood Blvd (date not known). On the last page, it shows the correct way to eat pizza. It says only a barbarian would put silver to the delicate flavors of a fine pizza. The picture then shows an attractive female eating it with her hand. It also shows a drawing of McGoo’s firt slaming pizza in all its splindor next to a smoking volcano. It used to be a big place to go in the 60’s.

  • Mike says:

    Took my girlfriend Janie on my first date to McGoos in Hollywood, in 1961. between the car and the restaurant, my wallet fell out of my back pocket. I said nothing to my date, but had $7 in my pocket which was more than enough. I got home, my dad was waiting up and ask how my date was. I told him …… he said a lady had called and I could pick up my wallet tomorrow. I brought that kind lady flowers!

  • Scott Sperling says:

    When I was a youth group advisor in the late ’60’s, the Hollywood location was a favorite last stop on my youth group’s annual ‘mystery bus ride’. The food was pretty good, the prices were the same and for a bunch of crazed teenagers, the ambience was just perfect. The sleazy neighborhood just added to the sense of adventure ;-)

  • Ann & Bob Curran says:

    We at at one of these jointa. We know why they closed forever.

    After finishing a very average meal, we waited for ovr 45 minutes for our check. Could not get anyone to drop by our table. Well I considered that lack of attention as False Imprisonment”, we left, never did see a bill!They closed a few months later.

  • Shel Weisbach says:

    I seem to remember, “back in the day,” a McGoo’s briefly located not in Westwood Village, but in the building that was to shortly become
    Junior’s Deli on Westwood at Pico.

  • Dr.Steven Cast\'13 says:

    During my high school years we all went to McGoo’s in Hollywood a few times and we’d always get a little “rowdy” and 1 night my friends asked the house piano player if I could play and sing a song or 2 and he said sure. I did the songs and everybody sang and there were NO boo’s. I think I played some Elton…it was a great place for a lot of great nights…and good memories…Cheers

  • Ron Holmstrom says:

    Used to frequent M’Goos on Hollywood Blvd. in the mid-70s. It was a fun place and Rudy, the piano player seemed to know every song ever written. Sing-a-longs were big.

  • Joel Axelrod says:

    In 1962, I was a 15 year old Uni Hi student recovering from a blast injury to my right hand after having had a homemade rocket explode while packing it.
    My parents were trying to keep their deli alive on Pico, across the street from the Pickwood Theater. I got a job at M’Goo’s as a cook and dishwasher. I also a had a great time sitting in as a pianist with a Dixie Ragtime group….the tuba player had mock bird poop on the bell of his horn. Tuesday nights were raucous and packed with students from nearby UCLA, as Tuesday night was ALL THE SPAGHETTI YOU CAN EAT FOR FIFTY CENTS!!!! Beer and root beer came in chilled mugs. The head cook was Gordon, who left M’Goo’s to be the waiter on the right side of the counter at The Applepan, just around the corner east of Westwood on Pico, across from Newberry’s, Von’s, Sally,s, Florsheim Shoes, Rexall Drugs, Buster Brown Shoes, See’s Candies, the shoeshine stand and Kiddyland. M’Goo’s became Junior’s Deli, between Smith’s Sporting Ggods and Al Marcus’ Rancho Music (record store).

  • Ronnie Sperling says:

    How come you have nothing on the FAMOUS King’s Tropical In on W. Washington near La Cienega?

  • The Management says:

    Never went there. Never heard of it.

  • John Hindsill says:

    Ronnie, I remember King’s very well…went there several times as a kid. It was housed in a Moorish-style domed building where Adams and Washington Blvds. junctioned just east of La Cienega.

    The Management, this morning I thought of many places not here anymore:

    The Ball, Santa Monica – one of the first topless restaurants in area c.1964. I was at the pre-opening. Tasteful, then; kinda sleazy in the 70s on.

    TIP’S Coffee Shops – several locations. I used to go to Leimert Park shop

    Tiny Naylor’s CS – several; there may still be one in Long Beach area.

    The Velvet Turtle – several from Redondo Beach to Pasadena. First had Gazpacho at a VT.

    Love’s BBQ – many around LA. Only one extant is in Indonesia!

    Van de Kamps Coffee Shops – part of the bakery chain.

    Roy Rogers’ Restaurants – Culver City (others around LA?) . Now strictly an eastern U.S. chain.

    Hajji Baba’s -Inglewood. First Lebanese restaurant I went to.

    Carnation Coffee Shops – Miracle Mile, Van Nuys, Phoenix . Part of the Carnation Dairies company.

  • paul gouveia says:

    why on earth would someone wait 45 minutes for a check? get up and ask for it!

  • Art says:

    I think that M’Goo’s in Westwood was M’Gee’s, a knockoff of the original in Hollywood. I loved the one in Hollywood; perfect for after a movie date. The first time I went I was in college in San Diego and a bunch of us gathered there one weekend during holiday break. It was the greatest. I loved their thin crust pizza.

  • Kathleen says:

    Before M’Goo’s on Hollywood Blvd, there was a restaurant called Hofbrau. I used to go there with my father. I remember sitting at high stools and eating at a counter. I think there was sawdust on the floor, but not 100% sure about this. I sort of remember having roast beef sandwiches. I remember for sure that I loved the place!

  • Cindy says:

    My father owned M’Goo’s on Hollywood Boulevard from 1968-1975 (when it burned down the second time and he didn’t rebuild). Prior to that, my Uncle owed it. My dad tried to franchise the restaurant and opened a second store on Van Nuys Boulevard, but it didn’t fly. He was a man light years ahead of his time. He thought up pizza delivery, but it wasn’t received well. He even opened a “Pizza Dog” kiosk on Ventura Boulevard that bombed as well. Who would’ve thought? Pizza wrapped around a hot dog wouldn’t be popular?

  • Grace says:

    Cindy, I have great memories of the Hollywood Blvd location in the early ’70s. It’s fascinating to ‘meet’ the daughter of its owner!

  • Mark Kraus says:

    My father’s office was down the street on Sunset, and he sometimes ate lunch there. I went in a few times as a kid, and even as a thirteen year old, thanks to my “M’Goo’s Enlightenment” I learned the meaning of mediocre food, but they were consistent-everything was lousy! PS-I know Gordon from the Apple Pan. Wonder if he’s still alive. He last serves me a great burger in 2002.

  • Victoria Thompson says:

    I worked at M’Goo’s in the late 1960s when I was just out of college. The waitresses and waiters wore 1890s bathing suits (pretty covered up) and the customers sang along to songs from the gay 90s. It was a great place and very popular. The line usually stretched around the block. Pizza, spaghetti, pitchers of beer. I had a great time. The manager was Gary and the pizza guy was Al. Al threw a terrific pizza but he often passed out on the pizza kitchen floor. This was problematic because the pizza kitchen had a huge window through which the passing Hollywood Boulevard foot traffic could watch the pizza throwing. The piano player was a religious nut who told us young folk that armageddon was just around the corner. Still waiting.

  • ChrisP says:

    Was M’Goo’s on Hollywood Blvd? I went to school just a block or two away at Hollywood and Cherokee.
    Did they have some outrageous dessert, like around $12.00 or so. I think it was like a strawberry short cake or something. I do remember this place being very popular if I’m great pizza.

  • Judi Mooney McQuoid says:

    Those were the day’s…..

    In the sixties a group of girls from Morningside High School (’67) would squeeze into our friends brothers ’52 Chevy, take a collection of loose change to buy gas and off we’d go to Hollywood. It’s a birthday celebration, we are going to M’goo’s!

    The pizza, good or bad didn’t matter, we stood in line until a table opened and then the party began. First a trip to the ladies room to get our party hats. Those paper toilet seat covers made awesome hats! Then singing along with the player piano to songs our grandparents sang. The place was overflowing with USC students and families (no transients). Everyone was full of joy and laughter.

    To this day most of that group of ladies gathers to celebrate birthdays and Christmas. We are celebrating our 65th birthdays this year! Oh, how I miss M’goo’s.

  • Harper says:

    Does anyone know if M’Goos had a location in Newport Beach? I have some concept art from the restaurant but it’s labeled with that location. However, it looks similar to the one on Hollywood Blvd. Perhaps they were all clones? Anyone know which one was the original location?

    Here’s a video of the outside of the one on Hollywood Blvd.

    Pictures here and here.

  • Alan Simmons says:

    When I was 8 years old (1965) my family visited M’Goo’s in Hollywood. I remember my dad laughing because they had Apple pie on the menu for something like $20.00!! The waiter told my father that if he still had room enough to eat dessert that the waiter would have to run down the street to the local bakery and buy a pie! I was fascinated by the saw dust on the floor of the restaurant! They sold little linen bags of “Genuine M’Goo’s Sawdust”. I still have mine!!!!

  • Peter Martens says:

    From what I can remember, M’Goo’s was THE ‘Tavern in the town’ (in the town). Lots of food and fun and of course, sing-a-longs! I STILL know most all the music by heart, mainly because my parents bought the album and played it so many times. Pressed in gold vinyl, it features a LIVE recording of their most popular songs, complete with audience participation. I still have the LP today, and have just recently remastered it to digital so that I can enjoy those jazzy ragtime sounds on CD. It’s uncanny, When I make a pizza, pour a cold one, play the CD through my stereo with the volume at just the right level, it’s like I’m right there at M’Goo’s (minus the sawdust)!

  • Alana says:

    M’Goo’s was my favorite place to go as a kid in Hollywood! Loved the pizza…that my Italian dad hated! Other favorite memories were the sawdust covered floor and the silent films. What a fun place it was! Anyone know the address on Hollywood Blvd. or what’s there now?

  • Joey D'Amore says:

    My father owned the Villa Capri Restaurant just a couple blocks away from Mc Goo’s. One Holloween night my buddy Bob Edesa and I rented two gorilla costumes from Western Costume on Santa Monica Bl. and walked the boulevard stopping in Mc Goo’s to get up on stage with Bob (in the black gorilla costume) making like he was playing the piano and me acting like I was singing (in the PINK gorilla costume…. gimme a break… thats all they had left for me to rent!) with my arms flailing. You should have seen the look on my father’s face when we walked into the Villa Capri in costume!

  • Liz says:

    Joey I remember you. Did you go to NHHS or Hollywood?

  • Tom says:

    I worked in the McGoos on Hollywood Blvd in 1969 as a singing waiter. We all wore striped vests and wore badges with our pictures on. I still have mine. We used to sing ‘Take me out to the ball game’, Hava Nagila (sp?) Daisy, Mares y dotes and dozy dotes and little lamsydivy (Mares eat oat and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy) and other such music hall classics.

  • Nancy says:

    Went to McGoo’s while a student nurse at St. Vincent’s in L.A. 1965-1968. Remember piling 6 or more fellow students into my orange ’55 Volkswagon for good eats on a student budget. We went to those $.50 Spaghetti nights too!!Loved singing those good old time songs. Fun times.

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