In my late teens and early 20s the Penguin was an amazing spot to hang out. The restaurant was an absolute time machine, right down to their 'eat this giant hamburger and win a t-shirt' challenge. After spending around two decades as an orthodontists office, LA Eater reports that Mel's Diner is trying to move in!
Per planning commission reports in Santa Monica, it appears Mel's is looking to re-open the location as a 24×7 diner.
Via the Eater:
A tipster points to this Planning Commission report for Santa Monica, which points towards a meeting to be held in just one week's time that will (hopefully) establish a conditional use permit for one Mel's Drive in right in Lincoln Boulevard. It's a nice replacement of sorts for Norm's, which had to close to make way for some development.
The 5,352 square foot property sits right off the freeway on Lincoln in a former orthodontics business, but carries the peaked roof and wide frontage of a Googie restaurant — making it perfect for Mel's to arrive. Originally built in 1959 as the Penguin Coffee Shop, the spot could once again be hosting diners twenty-four hours a day if Mel's gets their way.
Every time I'd be exiting the 10 at Lincon, westbound, the Dr. Beauchamp's sign would break my heart a bit. Mel's isn't my favorite diner but it is wonderful to think of that space being used as a restaurant again. I remain confident there are plenty of orthodontists in West L.A.