There is some very exciting news afoot in the Googie community, as we speak! According to several good sources, it is confirmed that the iconic Parasol restaurant in Rossmoor/Seal Beach will be re-opening in 2007 as Orange County's first Mel's Drive-In!
Several changes have happened with the plans for The Parasol. Initially, the building was slated for demolition, along with Rossmoor Bowl and other locations in the shopping center. A group of upset members of the community banded together and called themselves "The Friends of the Parasol," and initiated a petition (which garnered over 10,000 signatures) to prevent the closure of the restaurant, which was popular with the nearby Leisure World retirement community. Once every other building in the center was leveled, it was clear that the Parasol would, in fact, be saved and renovated.
For about 6 weeks, the plan seemed solid, until a bit of news was released in late May. Roy Hall, the restaurant's operator, had been unable to reach an agreement on lease terms with Century National Properties, the landlord of the property, and so left the project. This put a bit of a damper on the situation. Even if the restaurant was restored, it would be done without many of it's most famous elements-- the parasol-shaped chandeliers and lamps.
But Century National Properties is still spending $1.5 million to renovate this little restaurant, which opened in 1967.
Mel's Drive-In is a perfect company to take over as tenant of this venerated Googie landmark. Operating since 1947, Mel's has operated out of some of the most outlandish Googie buildings. Featured in Lucas' American Graffiti, and functioning in Universal theme parks worldwide, the noteriety of the Mel's name, as well as their attention to the history of the building, should spell good news for the community. Rossmoor, a community with the highest gross income of any area in North Orange County, can now have their cake (keeping an old establishment with a long history), and eat it too (...in a brand-new shopping center). The news was announced on August 31, 2006 in the OC Register. [link]
Thank you, Seal Beach, Century National Properties, and Mel's Drive-In for proving that Googie's got some worth, and can still be topical to our society today!
Here are several more links with pictures and information about The Parasol, for those interested:
- Article in OC Weekly w/ interior photo, Aug 22, 2002. [link]
- Article in OC Register about closure, Mar 15, 2006. [link]
- Article in OC Register about closure, Mar 14, 2006. [link]
- Article in Yahoo! Finance about new tenant (Mel's), Aug 31, 2006. [link]
The Parasol Restaurant
12241 Seal Beach Blvd.
Seal Beach, CA 90740