Marilyn at the Villa Nova: Then and Now

An article for WeHoVille looks back at the history of the former Villa Nova restaurant on Sunset Strip (once a hangout for Old Hollywood’s elite, now the Rainbow Bar and Grill.)

“Countercultural hippies. Rock ’n’ roll. Hollywood’s Golden Age. Over the years, the Sunset Strip has evolved. One era saw Marilyn Monroe falling for Joe DiMaggio, another Jim Morrison dangling over the boulevard out of a tenth-story window.

Ninety-year-old Charlotte Dale’s memory glimmers bright with the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood. During that bygone era, Dale ran Villa Nova alongside her late husband, Allen. The eatery’s celebrity connections go back to its beginnings. Allen Dale opened the original Villa Nova, located on Vine, with $100 in backing from silent film icon Charlie Chaplin. It later moved to the Sunset Strip, where for years the Dales catered to a diverse clientele that included movie stars, advertising and radio professionals and gangsters.

When Dale recently visited the former Villa Nova site at 9015 Sunset Blvd. at  Wetherly, now the Rainbow Bar & Grill, she was struck by how much of the venue seemed frozen in time. The skylight and stained glass were still there.  The staff still uses the same system for numbering the tables. Dale even spotted a cash register that’s apparently been there since the days when Dean Martin and Judy Garland were familiar faces.”

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