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  • Writer's pictureGrant Guy

Mel's Drive-In Santa Monica





The Mel’s Drive location in Santa Monica has been home to a coffee shop since 1959.


Formerly The Penguin Coffee shop, you can still see the original penguin above the glitzy neon Mel’s drive in sign atop the building.(what a shame the entire original Penguin Coffee shop pylon sign no longer exists because THAT was amazing)




The Penguin / Mel’s building is a Googie dream, with original counter and booths, rock walls, soaring angular roofline and windows, and beautiful terrazzo floors.


This location also marks the end of Route 66, and a great spot to celebrate the end of your mother road trip.


Look for the amazing Route 66 aquarium inside the diner, “end of route 66” marker at the front door, and mural in the car park.


End of road trip celebratory milkshake highly recommended - it came with its silver milkshake cup and a cherry on top - 5 stars.

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Southern California #149 -last visited October 2023

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