Friday, January 11, 2008

The Huddle

The classic "googie"-style coffee shop used to reside in the parking lot of Eastland Center in West Covina, California, close by the neighborhood where I grew up. Built in 1958, Eastland was then only the sixth shopping mall built in the Southland. The Huddle was down from the mall by the side of the westbound San Bernardino freeway (US 99, I-10), right at the Citrus Ave St offramp...


Click image to enlarge


(More on The Huddle restaurant chain.)

Our family actually almost never went to The Huddle. Mom didn't like the service or the food, and the place was always absolutely packed after church on Sunday, which also met with Mother's extreme disapproval. (We always ate out for breakfast on Sundays.)

Mom may not have liked The Huddle, but the place was really interesting to me. In the front, it was like a normal everyday family coffee shop, a la Denny's, but the back half was this very dark, smoky bar with a lighted fountain, central fireplace and extremely "mod" furniture and stylistic appointments. Not that I ever went in there – I used to sneak peeks at this forbidden area when I'd go in the back to the bathroom. ^^ I always wondered why grownups liked to go into dark, smoky places...

Anyway, by the time I was leaving high school, The Huddle was in obvious decline. During my freshman year at college, the restaurant disappeared, and in its place was a sporting goods superstore. That's gone now, too, though there's still a building on the site, and it's probably the same building that was the core of The Huddle.

Wow, I just looked at the area on Google Earth, and yeah, the Huddle building's still there, but a whole shopping center that used to be west of Eastland is like gone! (Where Akron was.) I wonder what they're going to build there. Who knows, who cares? *sighs* No matter what, if it's in LA, it'll be gone 50 years from now. That's just how it goes there...

 

6 comments:

  1. The Huddle Eastland building was demolished and the TGI-Fridays that stands there now is a new structure. Check out my history of The Huddle at
    http://www.synthetrix.com/huddle/preface.htm

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  2. I remember it was Oshman's then Akron store or maybe vice versa. I remember it as the Akron store before it was demolished. In High School, we would go to TGI Fridays. I miss the May Co. still. My sisters and my Mom (RIP) would shop there all the time, it was a ritual :-) (sigh)

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  3. The only correction I would make is that this is NOT West Covina,it is Covina.My hometown.

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    1. Sorry to contradict you, but Eastland has always been within the city limits of West Covina.

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  4. I second that contradiction. I grew up in West Covina and went to Covina High School, and I have never known the Eastland Shopping Center property to be anything but West Covina. And if you enter Covina into Google Maps, you'll see between Citrus and Barranca, everything south of Workman along this stretch is West Covina.

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  5. Do you have an estimate of when the Huddle went away? I graduated from Covina High in 1979, and I spent a lot of time in that area growing up, and I sure think I would remember that building. Wouldn't people just love to have that building now!!

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