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The Parasol Restaurant
Seal Beach, CA


Parasol (now Mel's Diner) Closed
Seal Beach, CA
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com

The Parasol Restaurant in Seal Beach is a restaurant that looks like its name. In recent years, there were two Parasol's remaining in the area. However, Dinah's Parasol in Torrance was demolished in the last past couple of years. Check out more coffee shops at Roadside Peek's Coffee Shops.


The Parasol Restaurant in Seal Beach, CA is one of the last remaining examples of a roadside theme called programmatic architecture. Built during the space age era, the Parasol is the sole remaining survivor of the Parasol restaurants, with the demise of the Dinah's Parasol in Torrance in the late 1990's.

Interior of The Parasol
Photo courtesy Adriene Biondo




Parasol rendering
Courtesy John Flores

The Parasol Restaurant located in Rossmoor near Seal Beach first opened in 1967 and was subsequently made famous in the 1973 classic movie American Graffiti. More recently, the familiar pink and white umbrella structure was an icon in the Seal Beach area. There were other Parasol Restaurants in the Los Angeles area, however all are now closed.

Mel's Drive-in has announced plans to reopen the Parasol building as a Mel's Drive-in. Mel's plans to restore many of the features that made the Parasol special, including the front marquee. This came after the community group Friends of the Parasol mounted a drive that captured 10,000 signatures from supporters to save the structure after initial word came that the building was to be demolished after the restaurant closed.

The Parasol Marquee
Photo by RoadsidePeek.com


UPDATE 10/07 : Here are photos from the sign raising at Mel's Diner (The Parasol) in Seal Beach on 9/10/07. Mel's Diner will be open soon. More information can be found here. Many thanks to Ron Pierce for photos and update. 10-07


Mel's Diner
Seal Beach, CA
Photo courtesy Ron Pierce

Mel's Diner, the former Parasol
Seal Beach, CA
Photo courtesy Ron Pierce

Mel's Diner sign raising
Seal Beach, CA
Photo courtesy Ron Pierce


UPDATE 10/09 : Mel's Drive-in in Rossmoor, CA near Seal Beach closed its doors this past Tuesday. According to the restaurant owner, this Mel's location saw a large decline in customers since the beginning of the year as well as a problem getting rent reduced. This is the former site of the 1960's era Parasol Restaurant which had occupied the building for almost 40 years before it closed in 2006. Mel's had maintained much of the Parasol's mid-century look when it renovated the building. According to the Long Beach Press Telegram, the shopping center is now working with a national tenant to occupy the site. 10-09


See more Googie treasures at Roadside Peek's Spotlight on Orange County Googie.


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For the latest news, please visit The Friends of the Parasol's website.




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