Right across the street from NBC Studios in Burbank, CA is a shell of an old restaurant. Once a lunch spot and after hours hangout for NBC staffers, Warner Bros. employees, and workers from the Disney lot, the restaurant has been sitting vacant since 1998. Whenever I drive by the place I think of all the stories that could be told of the restaurant from when the times were good.
Chadney's Restaurant started in 1974 when former Sportsman Lodge pianist, Bill Chadney, joined up with contractor Bob Hoeller to open a steakhouse with live music. During the day the restaurant offered up juicy steak lunches for the nearby studio workers and at night a hoppin' jazz lounge for the after work crowd.
Hoeller was quoted in a 1999 Los Angeles Times article saying, "I used to see Johnny Carson, Tom Brokaw, and Bob Hope in here all the time. And I used to watch Milton Berle stink the place up with his cee-gars. He was big on cee-gars." I wish I could have walked in to Chadney's for a nice steak dinner when that was the crowd coming in. I think I could put up with the cigar smoke if it was coming from Milton Berle.
Business was good at Chadney's from the 1970s into the 1980s. The celebrities and workers were coming in. The big names in jazz came to perform - then business started to trickle off. By the late 80s the popularity of the place began to wear away and eventually Chadney's was sold to new owners in 1992. The new owners tried to keep Chadney's going but the big names had stopped coming. In 1998 the roof caved in on the restaurant and the place has been closed ever since.
Currently the building is up for lease and it has been this way for a long time now. I'm hoping somebody comes in, refurbishes the place and opens it as a new restaurant. However, I wouldn't be surprised if someone buys the place and tears the whole building down. Let's hope that someone can breath some life into the old restaurant!