The Brown Derby

  • BrownDerbyLit
  • BrownDerbyPostcard
  • Brown_Derby_Swope

A jewel in MONA’s historic sign collection, this neon sign came from the Hollywood and Vine location of the Brown Derby Restaurant. Opened on Valentine’s Day in 1929, the eatery became the hottest spot in Hollywood for stars and moguls to dine and deal. Over the years the Brown Derby’s chefs invented signature dishes such as the Cobb Salad and the Grapefruit Cake. The Vine location’s giant, double-sided neon moniker dates to the early 1930s and sat atop the restaurant on a supporting scaffold. Originally its glass tubing glowed in a period-appropriate shade of ruddy neon, but it was later changed to the current combination of white and yellow. The landmark restaurant closed in 1985 and the sign went through two private collections before being donated to the Museum of Neon Art.