Proudly Serving Hollywood Since 1919
The Musso & Frank Grill’s history is as rich and colorful as Hollywood itself. Opened in 1919 by entrepreneur Frank Toulet, who joined forces with Oregon restaurateur Joseph Musso and brilliant French chef Jean Rue, the restaurant quickly became known for outstanding service and culinary excellence.
On September 27, 1919, The Hollywood Citizen ran an announcement about the opening of Frank Toulet’s new restaurant, Frank’s Café at 6669 Hollywood Blvd. In time, Toulet partnered with restaurateur Joseph Musso. As the owners of the new Musso & Frank’s Grill, they hired French chef Jean Rue, who created the menu — much of which remains unchanged even today.
The pair sold the restaurant in 1927 to two Italian immigrants, Joseph Carissimi and John Mosso, who years later moved The Musso & Frank Grill next door to 6667 Hollywood Blvd., where it still stands.
Musso's exclusive, storied Back Room opened in 1934. Guarded by a discerning and austere maitre d’, the Back Room was a legendary private space reserved for the Hollywood elite. Eventually, the lease on the Back Room expired. Today, the restaurant’s New Room holds the Back Room’s original famous bar, light fixtures and furniture from 1934.
As the years have passed, so too have the beloved generations of Musso’s. The great chef, who led the kitchen for more than 53 years, passed on his torch as well. But the generations have kept the dream alive — first by Carissimi’s son, Charles, and his wife, Edith, and Mosso’s daughter, Rose, and then by Mosso’s granddaughters. Today, Musso's is owned and operated by John Mosso’s three granddaughters and their children.
The generations may have changed, but one thing never has — our family’s uncompromising dedication to delivering the renowned service and fine cuisine that first made Musso’s famous.
When you sit in our comfortable worn-leather booths, peruse our 90-year-old classic menu or sidle up to the mahogany bar, you’re not just enjoying fine food and great company. You’re a part of Hollywood history.
It’s a history that reads like a Hollywood script. Deals were made on the old pay phone — the first pay phone to be installed in Hollywood. Scripts were discussed over a famous Musso’s martini. Contracts were signed over exquisite meals of Roast Duck and Lamb Chops. Stars were born.
From the beginning, Musso’s has been a favorite among Hollywood’s A-list. Charlie Chaplain was an early regular. Often seen lunching with Mary Pickford, Rudolph Valentino and Douglas Fairbanks, Chaplin — legend has it — would challenge Douglas to a horse race down Hollywood Boulevard, and the winner had to pick up the tab at Musso’s. Charlie would win and gloat over a plate of Roast Lamb Kidneys, his favorite Musso’s meal.
In the ‘20s and ‘30s, it wasn’t uncommon to see Greta Garbo and Gary Cooper having breakfast together — flannel cakes and fresh coffee, of course. Or to bump into Humphrey Bogart having drinks at the bar with Dashielle Hammett or Lauren Bacall.
In the ‘50s, Hollywood legends like Marilyn Monroe (flanked by Joe DiMaggio), Elizabeth Taylor and Steve McQueen could be found enjoying drinks and appetizers in Musso’s famous Back Room. Jimmy Stewart, Rita Hayworth, Groucho Marx and John Barrymore also had starring roles at Musso’s.
Today, Musso’s remains a sophisticated Hollywood hangout. But don’t expect to be lining up for autographs. The owners and patrons of Musso’s still treat them the same way early owner John Mosso did — with respect and discretion.
Musso’s became a literary hangout in the 1930s, when studio executives began to recruit great American authors to Hollywood, hoping their names would help sell tickets. With the Screen Writers Guild just across the street, the writers — tired of working under the execs’ watchful eyes — began to spend time at the restaurant.
If they weren't in Musso’s Back Room, they could be found at the Stanley Rose Bookshop, which at the time was Musso’s neighbor to the east.
Working late into the night under the comforting amber glow of the great chandeliers in the famous Back Room, writers like literary greats F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and Raymond Chandler could have considered Musso’s a second home.
Fitzgerald was known to proofread his novels while sitting in a booth at Musso’s. Faulkner met his mistress of 20 years here, and was so chummy with the bartenders in the Back Room, that he used to go behind the bar to mix his own mint juleps. Raymond Chandler wrote several chapters of “The Big Sleep” while sipping drinks in the Back Room.
T.S. Elliot, William Sorayan, Aldous Huxley, Max Brand, John Steinbeck, John O’Hara and Dorothy Parker also made their home at the Musso’s bar.
After the Back Room closed and the bar moved to its current location in the New Room in 1955, the tradition lived on, and new generations of writers found themselves at Musso's. Following in the footsteps of the masters who had inspired them, writers like Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Bukowski became regulars, who, along with their martinis and highballs, drank up the creative juices left behind by their heroes.
The Los Angeles Times once wrote that if you stood in Musso’s Back Room long enough you, “…would have seen every living writer you had ever heard of, and some you would not know until later.”