Here’s an interesting way to spend a June afternoon on the Sunset Strip. Have lunch and a drink at the Pink Taco with Martin Turnbull, my friend, the author of The Garden of Allah novel series, and Tom Sturges, a music executive who is the son of Preston Sturges, one of the most brilliant and eccentric writers and directors in the studio era.
The location was significant. Pink Taco occupies hallowed ground in Sunset Strip history. Originally a residence built in 1926, Preston Sturges extensively (and expensively) renovated it 14 years later and then opened it as a celebrity nightspot called The Players.
In August 1945, just weeks before World War II ended, the finest restaurants and nightclubs on the Sunset Strip were indicted by a federal grand jury for violating the meat rationing laws.
Among those questioned by investigators and by the grand jury were representatives of:
- The Players, 8225 Sunset
- St. Donat’s, 8351 Sunset
- The Marquis, 8420 Sunset
- Ciro’s, 8433 Sunset
- Temple of Heaven, 8711 Sunset
- Cafe Gala, 8795 Sunset
- Bubilchki, 8846 Sunset
- The Little Gypsy, 8917 Sunset
- Trocadero, 8610 Sunset
- Restaurant La Rue, 8633 Sunset
- Villa Nova, 9015 Sunset
- Bit of Sweden, 9051 or 9031 Sunset
It is unclear what became of these charges, but it’s likely they were dropped after victory was declared on Sept. 2.