El Nido Ranch, Lafayette 1960s
El Nido Rancho (the nest in Spanish) was a popular restaurant, nightspot and hotel in Lafayette, California. It was opened in 1946 by hosts Marge and Louis Knappenberger.
Located in the heart of Happy Valley, people flocked to El Nido from Oakland and even San Francisco to lounge by the swimming pool, sip drinks on the patio and eat the smorgasbord menu – a Swedish-style buffet of hot and cold dishes.
There was a cocktail lounge and dance floor and an orchestra or a pianist played most evenings.
The biggest event of the week was the Sunday morning breakfast, cooked on a chuck wagon by the swimming pool by Louis himself, which attracted 600 people each week.
A radio show was also broadcast each week in the restaurant, featuring Hollywood stars such as Harpo Marx, Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante and Betty Grable.
This charming vintage menu features caricatures of the owners and some of their guests.
El Nido went into decline when it was bypassed by an expressway. Another restaurant moved into the space, but the building was finally torn down in 1966.
Each order includes a print of the interior menu.