Ships Coffee Shop
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…