Ships Coffee Shop

The Ship's on Overland Ave. in Culver City

Christopher Columbus had three ships and restaurateur Emmett Shipman had three Ships — one in Westwood, one in Culver City and everyone’s favorite, which was the one at Olympic and La Cienega.  Each Ships was open 24 hours and it wasn’t Denny’s. In terms of cuisine, it wasn’t that much better but it felt friendlier and classier.

If you ordered breakfast, they brought you bread instead of toast and you cooked it yourself in the toaster at your table. Every table had one, plus they were all along the counter for the folks sitting there. It was another great place to get a hot turkey sandwich and I remember that a friend of mine liked to go there because they had “the coldest milk in the world.”  The waitresses were all what you’d get if you put out a casting call for “friendly coffee shop waitresses.”

All three Ships Coffee shops were opened by Shipman between 1956 and 1967 and closed within a narrow window in the eighties.  They were noted for their decor and the one at Olympic and La Cienega was used as a location in several movies.  They may be among the “most missed” defunct eateries in all of Southern California. Here’s a look at their classic menu…

To see the entire Ships menu, click above

60 Responses to Ships Coffee Shop

  • Barb says:

    I ate breakfast at the Ships on Olympic and La Cienega almost everyday I used to own the 76 station on the corner in the late 70’s

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

    Whoa! That’s a hoot…the 76 is still there:
    As you were so close to Beverly Hills, did ya get a few celebs from time to time?

  • Scarla says:

    loved making my own toast here — there was a toaster at each table!

  • sharren Wells says:

    Does anyone have the recipe for Ships Rice Pudding. It was the best. We have tried unsuccessfully to replicate it for the past 38 years.

  • Bobbie says:

    Did anybody work with patrica at shipps ?not sure which location. Please help I would like to get more information. Thank you

  • John Trenfield says:

    Anyone out there know of Mark Shipman? He was the owners son. I went 1 year of high school with him in Colorado.

  • Terri says:

    Ships in Culver City was just a couple of blocks from where I lived until I was 5yo. My dad had breakfast there the morning I was born. I remember going there for weekend breakfasts through high school. Starbucks can never replace the memories of Ships and cooking my own toast;-)

  • Alan Valantine says:

    The menu above with the prices on it does anyone know what year that is from?

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

    Alan: Clicking on the menu, one can see 7/71 at the bottom of the page. (Google “inflation calculator” for fun.)

  • Paul McNulty says:

    That must have been at the Abbey School. Was a class mate of Mark for 8 years in grade school and both of us went to the Abbey for 2 years. Last saw Mark about 7-8 years ago. He is still the same guy. He spent a number of years in the Navy. He is married living in Florida. His wife is a career Navy person. I still spot his
    mother once in awhile in his childhood neighborhood.
    I remember Steve, Mark and Bo Shipman. I can still picture their dad, Emmett, with his crew cut haircut.

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