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The Dahlia Motors Building

From motor oil to fondue, this historic location has come a long way.

Kim Dingle recalls her 2000 purchase of the art deco building that houses the restaurant Fatty's. "I was the only sucker willing to buy it," she says, adding that at the time "there was no buzz about Eagle Rock." Fortunately, times have changed, as the restaurant's vegan and vegetarian fare, delectable desserts and enviable list of fine wines delight the health-conscious Eagle Rock epicureans who patronize this popular location.   

The building, at 1627 Colorado Blvd. is a protected monument listed on the historic registry. It was constructed in 1931 for Wayne Nutting and christened the Dahlia Motors Building. An avid motoring enthusiast, Nutting was the proud owner of a Stanley Steamer, a car that, as its name suggests, ran on steam power generated by igniting kerosene or gasoline. Unfortunately, a propane retrofit on Nutting's car malfunctioned near Knott's Berry Farm in 1969, killing both him and his wife and  injuring other passengers.  

Another local resident, La Dell Stapp, then occupied the building, where he established a multi-mechanic cooperative called Stapp's Auto Shop. He sold the property to Dingle. A well-known artist whose work appears at MOCA, the L.A. County Museum of Art and the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, among other galleries, shows and collections, Dingle originally purchased the building as a place to set up her studio.  

Because she needed a caffeine fix earlier than local restaurants were putting out the pot in those pre-coffeehouse days, says Dinglem "we thought about renting a coffee cart or, since cinder blocks were covering the windows, having a crack house with espresso." But aesthetics took over, and when co-owner and chef Aude Charles joined Dingle, they designed a restaurant, which opened in 2001. "We didn't know we'd be serving fondue, polenta and cut cannelloni crepes," says Dingle. "If anyone had told us how difficult restaurant work was, we would have been running for the hills."  

Local gourmands will rejoice that they didn't. Fatty's is open Thursday through Saturday, from 6–10 p.m.; Sunday from 5–9 p.m. Reservations suggested. 323-254-8804.  www.Fattyscafe.com.      

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