Sunday, December 01, 2013

20th Century Limited, Costa Mesa, CA

20th Century Limited was a restaurant located in Costa Mesa, inside South Coast Plaza. It opened to the public on December 1, 1975.

It was named after the famous 20th Century Limited railroad line of art deco inspired construction. The railroad connected Chicago to New York and ran from 1902 to 1967.

The restaurant was decorated with all the same accoutrements of an art deco styled passenger train. The interior was made to look like Grand Central Station in New York. Towards the front of the establishment were traditional booths, while in the back were replica Pullman cars that you could dine in.

Restaurant patrons would walk down brick platforms strewn with prop luggage, giant black engines spewing steam, and dined aboard gently rocking train cars with rear-projected scenery outside the window and the click-clack sound effects of the train tracks.

A couple of OCThen reader had posted comments throughout the site in reference to 20th Century Limited...

Anonymous (June 14, 2006) - Does anyone remember a restaurant that was located inside South Coast Plaza from the 80's called 20th Century Limited? It was a restaurant inside an actual railroad car. I remember this only vaguely from childhood.

Anonymous (July 26, 2006) - I remember 20th Century Limited. I had lunch there with a friend and her mom when I was about 8 or so. The sugar bowls had multicolored sugar in them and I thought the whole train concept was so sophisticated!

Marianne Dow (July 15, 2008) - Remember the 20th Century Limited restaurant in South Coast Plaza - it was a real train car. Good times.

Anonymous (Sep 17, 2010) - Remember the 20th Century restaurant? The one inside the train?

Anonymous (Sep 21, 2012) - when I got married we went to the 20th century restaurant with the rail car motiff quite a bit...there are a lot of great memories for me at that mall...

Anonymous (Apr 22, 2012) - Other favorites over the years were the 20th Century Limited Dining Car Restaurant.

If anyone has a photo of 20th Century Limited, e-mail me here, and I'll add it to this page.

Post your memories of 20th Century Limited below...


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