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Have lunch and get an Oscars preview at Hollywood's oldest restaurant




Musso & Frank bartender Ruben Rueda (48 years) knows that some people are now calling for a
Musso & Frank bartender Ruben Rueda (48 years) knows that some people are now calling for a "wet" martini, but most still want them old-school dry — 8:1 gin to vermouth.
John Rabe
Musso & Frank bartender Ruben Rueda (48 years) knows that some people are now calling for a
Waiter Alonzo "Panama" Castillo has worked at Musso & Frank for 42 years. He's part-time now and says he might retire soon, "but then where would I get my exercise?!"
John Rabe
Musso & Frank bartender Ruben Rueda (48 years) knows that some people are now calling for a
Musso & Frank assistant manager Bobby Caravella.
John Rabe
Musso & Frank bartender Ruben Rueda (48 years) knows that some people are now calling for a
Indolfo Rodriguez worked at Schwab's for 14 years, then came to Musso & Frank to work the grill 22 years ago.
John Rabe
Musso & Frank bartender Ruben Rueda (48 years) knows that some people are now calling for a
Domingo Pule (22 years at Musso & Frank) looks at the perfect flannel cake — which is a cross between a pancake and a crepe and was named because it should be as thin as a piece of flannel.
John Rabe


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Join Off-Ramp host John Rabe as he interviews Oscar nominees, critics and more in a booth at Musso & Frank Grill in Hollywood. The taping starts at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, February 16, and wraps up around 2 p.m.

If you want to join us, reserve a table for lunch at Musso's (323-467-7788). Tell them you're here for the show, and they'll seat you in front of our booth.

Host John Rabe preparing for a day of radio at Musso & Frank.
Host John Rabe preparing for a day of radio at Musso & Frank.
Kevin Ferguson/KPCC

Compared to most of the staff at Musso & Frank, assistant manager Bobby Caravella is practically in diapers. Bartender Ruben Rueda's been there for 48 years, waiter Alonzo "Panama" Castillo is at 42 years and Domingo Pule has logged 22 years at the grill — after 14 years at Schwab's Pharmacy.

But he gets it. "It's been a real education," Caravella says. "I've been in the restaurant business for 30 years, and I have people working for me that have been working here for over 40 years. So when I try to say 'this is the way to do it,' they kinda look at me, smile and say, 'Sure, sonny.'"

Highlights include recently finding a photo of Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio eating lunch in Booth No. 3, "which we call the Marilyn booth. Half the people we tell believe us, and half the people think we're telling them a story just to get them in the seat."

Another was meeting director Paul Mazursky's widow at Musso just after he died and being able to express his appreciation for the director hiring him as AD on several pictures — then walking her out and discovering Mazursky's star outside the front door.

Frank Sinatra, he says, always sat at Table 224 with his "good friend" Jilly Rizzo. "We like to think he just liked to be in that room, and it was a little bit secluded, but," Caravella laughs, "I think it was because Jilly could see out the front door."

And then there was the time a grand old lady came in with her grandsons and asked to be seated in a particular booth. She told him it was her 95th birthday, and she remembered her fifth birthday at Musso ... in the exact same booth.

Listen to the audio for more stories of Hollywood history at Musso & Frank Grill, and join us Tuesday afternoon!