The midcentury was an age of diners, drive-thrus and drive ins, and this was certainly the case in L.A. and its environs. Built in 1949, the drive-in Tiny Naylor’s sat on the corner of La Brea and Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and was an example par excellence of Googie architecture.

Tiny Naylor's restaurant_Marc Wanamaker–Bison Archives
Photography by Marc Wanamaker–Bison Archives

L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants, a new book from Santa Monica Press, explains “became one of the most popular drive-ins during the Golden Age of Hollywood, as well as one of the few twenty-four-hour establishments in the area. The eatery was owned by W. W. ‘Tiny’ Naylor, whose six-foot-four, 300-pound frame earned him his ironic nickname.”

Tiny Naylor’s also distinguished with its menu. “Besides burgers and shakes, the menu at Tiny Naylor’s also included corn on the cob, ribs, steak, and baked potatoes—all of which were unheard of for a drive-in. Everything served at the restaurant was made from fresh ingredients, never frozen.”

Unfortunately, Tiny Naylor’s went out of business in 1980 and the funky architecture was subsequently demolished. The Naylor family is still alive and well in the restaurant business, however, with the Du-Par’s chain of restaurants.

While we can admire vintage photographs of Tiny Naylor’s, George Geary gets us another step closer to the original with a recipe for classic drive-in fare, a chocolate malt.


Chocolate Malt

This creamy all-American classic pairs perfectly with a burger.

Recipe by George Geary, excerpted by permission from L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants, published by Santa Monica Press.

Serves 1

2 large scoops chocolate ice cream
2 tsp. chocolate powdered drink
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp. malt powder
whipped cream
1 maraschino cherry

1. Place the chocolate ice cream, powdered drink, milk, and malt powder in a blender. Blend until creamy, about 30 seconds.

2. Pour into a tall, chilled glass.

3. Top with the whipped cream and cherry.


L.A.'s Legendary Restaurants

For more on the tastes and sites of L.A. from the midcentury and beyond, get your copy of the book here.