Windmill Themed Denny's
7 East Huntington Drive,
In Arcadia, east of Pasadena, near the Santa Anita Raceway sits a Denny's with a large windmill sprouting out of its roof. The building was built in 1967 by architects Harold Bissner and Harold Zook. It was the first Van de Kamp's Holland Dutch Bakery to feature a windmill. Sadly in 1989, when Denny's took it over, they stopped the windmill spinning. For 27 years the blades didn't turn, until June 29th, 2016, when Denny's paid $100,000 to install a new motor, some reinforced blades, and even LED lights. Since then the windmill has turned again, and even lights up at night. Harold Bissner was even in attendance on June 29th when the windmill was turned back on.
Now, not only is the building the last of the Van de Kamp's windmill restaurants to survive from the former chain, it is probably also the last surviving windmill topped restaurant in all of Southern California. The sixteen sided building has a neat ruffle collar roof beneath the windmill.
Van de Kamps, started in 1915, wasn't just frozen fish sticks as most people think of it today, but it was also a brand of breads and various pastry products. The first store opened in January of 1915 as a stand in downtown Los Angeles. Besides their windmills, restaurants were known for the waitresses and servers wearing blue and white Dutch costumes. Besides their other buildings and restaurants, they ended up building 15 of the restaurants with the windmill on the roof like the restaurant in Arcadia, of which the Arcadia one is the only one which remains. Originally 40 were planned. The company went out of business in 1990.
Luckily, still today, day or night, you can watch the last remaining Van de Kamp windmill turn in Arcadia.
- Mark Tierno of Monrovia, CA on 2011-12-28 said:
- Being a resident of the city next to Arcadia, and having grown up there, I was a kid when that windmill was built, so here is the complete history... Built around the late 1960s as a Van De Kamp's restaurant, originally the windmill actually did turn. then when Van De Kamps sold out the restaurant and Tiny Nallor's took over, the windmill was tied down and the motor never started up again. Later, Denny's ended up with it and in a later redecorating decided to keep the windmill due to a lot of local protests about our landmark. The current Denny's owners probably don't even know how to turn on the motor that spins the windmill.
- Hector of Los Angeles, California on 2007-12-29 said:
- There was actually more of these windmill Denny's. In the 90's, in Monterey Park, CA east of Downtown Los Angeles, on Atlantic Blvd near the 60 Freeway entrance, the Denny's there used to have a giant windmill on top of it. It was strange, until the late 90's, they tore it down and just left the Denny's by itself.
Last Edited: 2020-05-06