Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Windmill Themed Denny's

Map 7 East Huntington Drive, Arcadia, California 91006

A Windmill Themed Denny's Resides in Arcadia
A Windmill Themed Denny's Resides in Arcadia

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.

Windmill restaurant with the lights on
Windmill restaurant with the lights on

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.



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Last Edited: 2020-05-06


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