Walker's Cafe Restoration

History of Walker's Cafe

Walker’s Cafe was built in 1935 located on the northeast side of Paseo del Mar and across the street from Point Fermin Park in San Pedro. The Café was purchased by husband and wife Raymond J. Walker and Bessie Mae Petersen in 1946; previously called Cuddle Café, the business was rechristened Walker’s Café, with an expanded dining room in what was previously an attached apartment. The couple operated the restaurant together until Walker’s death in 1953. As a high-integrity 1940s restaurant that has been a living, breathing part of the community for many decades, Walker’s Café is on a par with other historic restaurants such as Cole’s and The Original Pantry Cafe in downtown Los Angeles – places that transport present-day patrons to a different time and narrate the story of the earliest days of the city’s development and restaurant culture. The café has also appeared in several films, including Chinatown (1974), Gods and Monsters (1998), and Inherent Vice (2014).

The Restoration

Walker’s Cafe meets one of the Historic-Cultural Monument criteria: it “exemplifies significant contributions to the broad cultural, economic or social history of the nation, state, city or community” as the home of a long-standing restaurant that played an important part in the social life of San Pedro.

Walker’s Cafe operated continuously in San Pedro from 1946 to 2021 under the family of founders Raymond J. Walker and Bessie Mae Petersen; Petersen herself ran the business from its establishment until 1994, when poor health forced her to retire at the age of 82. Petersen was known for her generosity, providing meals to customers regardless of their ability to pay, and giving shelter and work to homeless customers. During its long history, the restaurant attracted a loyal and diverse clientele representing a broad cross-section of San Pedro, drawn to its food, inviting atmosphere, and proximity to Point Fermin Park. The property retains many of its original features, most notably the neon sign and interior arches. Despite its closure, the subject property continues to represent 75 years of Walker’s Cafe’s role as a local cultural institution and an important part of community life in San Pedro.

The Walker’s Cafe Restoration Project aims to bring life back into this historical building, to honor its rich heritage while revitalizing its charm for modern patrons. The project begins with meticulous research into the cafe’s original architecture, design, and ambiance, ensuring an authentic restoration. Renovation efforts focus on preserving key features such as the vintage signage, ornate fixtures, and iconic interior elements. Collaborating with local artisans and craftsmen, the restoration team seeks to recreate the cafe’s nostalgic atmosphere, evoking a sense of nostalgia for long-time patrons and enchantment for new visitors.

Walker's Cafe Restoration Donation Form

100% of your donation is tax deductible as a charitable contribution.

Prefer to use a check? Donations are also accepted via check, email info@revcommfoundation.org for more information.