Monday, December 02, 2013

Bernie's Restaurant in Buena Park, CA

An Anonymous OCThen reader recalls eating at Bernie's Restaurant in Buena Park from the 1950s all the way until it closed up at its final location in La Habra...

How about Bernie's Restaurant on Beach Blvd. in Buena Park? 
In the mid 1950's when I attended Lindbergh Elementary School (at Stanton and 4th Street) we would, at lunch time, ride our bikes down 4th Street to Bernie's for lunch. Have a hamburger and a coke. Throughout the years, Bernie's was always there for breakfast and lunch. At one time it was even open for dinner.

In the 1970's I recall that Cliff would have a great New Year's Eve Party in the restaurant. At one of those parties Cliff went up to Mike Clewley and said, "I want no trouble here tonight, Mike, OK."

I often ate breakfast on Staurdays with my dad. As the years went by, we often ate breakfast on Sat. or Sun. I recall one man who would always wear a top hat and sat at the counter.

Connie and/or Paula would often work there too. These are Cliff and Jean's daughters. Calvin is Cliff and Jean's son and later on he ran the place. Kimmie even worked at Bernie's, Kimmie is the owner of the chain of Kimmie's Coffee Shops (restaurants) (in Fullerton, Orange, Brea, Placentia and also Reno, NV). The decor in Kimmie's Coffee Shops reflects that of Bernie's country style. It was Cliff's mother Bernie who originally started the restaurant. Artie worked there (Arthur Lucas) who was a Buena park resident. Pete, another Buena Park resident, also worked there.

Throughout the years Bernie's was always a place to go. But, alas, with the closure of some closeby businesses and certain demographic changes, the number of customers dwindled. Bernie's in Buena Park was eventually closed after being there for well over 50 plus years. Calvin moved the business to Harbor Blvd. in La Habra, but after a short while even that Bernie's was closed.
There is a short article about Bernie's Restaurant (the final location in La Habra) here:

There is also an detailed article about Kimmie (mentioned) above, which mentions Bernie's here:

OC Weekly published a brief review back in 2001, found here:

Anyone with memories, information, or photos to share about Bernie's, post a comment below or contact me.


  1. My Mother, Wilma Warlick was the cashier/ hostess there from at least 1960. I had my own coffee cup on the wall with the regulars. My Dad Butch worked across the street in Nutrulite... Worked on the stage coach at Knott's since I was 14. Do the math . Does anyone remember the old Velasco's theater on Beach? I saw Wizard of Oz there when I was about 5. . It later turned into a porn movie theater. So much for progress. I lived on Homewood Went to Lindberg and BPHS Graduated by the skin of my teeth! My Uncle Kenny Jones was the first Buena Park fireman later to become the Chief of Police and the Mayor. I got my polio shot in front of the only fire station about 1954 Thank you Dr. Salt. The Bell in the old congregational church on beach was a donation from my family to my Grandmother Pearl This. And its all been uphill since...

  2. We moved to BP in 1965 when I was in 2nd grade. We lived in the Highland Greens townhouses when they were brand new (near Beach and Malvern.) While Beatty Elementary was under construction, we were farmed out first to Lindbergh then Calder Intermediate, and finally Whitaker before settling into our new school. I went to Junior High at McComber and loved hanging out in the old downtown (especially the Schwinn shop.) I remember eating at Bernie's, but it would be great if someone had a photo to share as the geography is a little fuzzy after all this time (we moved out in '71.) I made a side trip through town not long ago and got lunch at the McDonalds there. I drove around long enough to see almost everything was gone, but I wasn't really as disappointed as I thought I would be. I just remembered what a great town that was to live in at that particular time in my life.


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