News of the Silver Spoon’s closing has swept through the city. The restaurant has been , according to a report released by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Many people are already mourning the loss of the cherished diner. And none are mourning it more than its most famous patron, actress Sally Kirkland.
“Silver Spoon is very much my home,” says Kirkland, just back from Santa Rosa where she was attending a 25th anniversary screening of Anna, the movie that earned her a best actress Oscar nomination. “If it had a bed, I’d sleep here. It’s hard for me to accept that this is all happening.”
Kirkland says she eats at the 40-year-old restaurant every day when she’s in town. Her favorite dishes there are the Cobb salad and the tostada salad.
“If there’s nothing else going on in my life, I may go there twice a day,” says Kirkland, who also received a Career Achievement Award from the Santa Rosa International Film Festival. “I’ll go there to hang out, to find my friends.”
Silver Spoon is a place she goes when she’s up and when she’s down.
“I’ll go there when I’m in a great mood to celebrate something,” she adds. “And when I’m down, I’ll go to Silver Spoon and eat sugar for an hour—lemon meringue pie or carrot cake. That’s my way of dealing with depression.”
Kirkland describes herself as a “workaholic.” She’s appeared in hundreds of TV episodes. On the big screen, besides Anna, she’s best remembered for performances in JFK (1991), EdTV (1999), Bruce Almighty (2003), Adam and Steve (2006) and Coffee Date (2008).
Silver Spoon's exact closing date is not known. Employees say it will be open about another month. After that, the new owners will reportedly renovate the diner to be more upscale. It is supposed to reopen under the name Connie and Ted’s.
Whenever the closing date, Kirkland will be at a loss. Not only does she eat there, she holds her business meetings there.
“Every deal I’ve ever done has been done at the Silver Spoon,” she says. “Anytime someone wants to meet with me, I tell them to meet me at the Silver Spoon."
She’s such a regular there, staff will take deliveries for her.
“If someone has a script for me, I tell them to drop it off at the Silver Spoon,” she says. “Any important papers someone has for me, I tell them to deliver them there.”
In fact, she’s such a fixture there, sometimes people will call the Silver Spoon looking for her.
“They’ll take messages for me there,” she laughs.
Jasper Cole, Kirkland’s former manager, is equally upset by the closing. “We will both be losing our second office with free rent,” Cole says.
Kirkland considers the staff like family. “They take care of me,” she says. “I’m an only child and they really are like family to me. Some of the staff has been there for 30 years.”
Finding the Silver Spoon
Kirkland came to Los Angeles from New York in the mid '70s, a protégé of actress Shelley Winters, best known for the Poseidon Adventure (1972), Alfie (1966) and Lolita (1962).
Kirkland became part of Winters’ entourage that gathered at Schwab’s Drug Store at 8000 Sunset Blvd. (at Crescent Heights) until it closed in 1983. Then they moved to the Silver Spoon, which was then called Theodore’s. The name became the Silver Spoon in 1987.
“Theodore’s was where actors hung out,” Kirkland says. “Shelley liked going there because she could hold court there. The paparazzi were always there to get photos of her. She liked sitting at the middle table on the patio.”
When Winters died in 2006, Kirkland became its most famous patron. “I inherited the queenhood from Shelley,” she says.
Kirkland doesn’t have a single favorite table like Winters. She says she likes tables in the far corners.
Many a rising star has gone there. Kirkland explains that students from the nearby Actors Studio would go there after class or just to hang out. John Ritter and Robin Williams were regulars early in their careers.
She’s brought many a famous star to the Silver Spoon as well, among them Robert DeNiro and Bob Dylan.
Robert Forster is another regular
These days, besides Kirkland, Silver Spoon’s other famous regulars are actors Martin Landau (Ed Wood, TV’s Mission Impossible) and Robert Forster. She says Forster goes there for lunch every day.
Kirkland reports that in 1996, she ran into hot young Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino, who asked whether she knew where he could find Forster because he wanted to cast him in a movie. Kirkland told him to wait at the Silver Spoon.
Tarantino did find Forster there and persuaded him to play the lead in his movie Jackie Brown.
Because of the number of actors hanging out there, the Silver Spoon has many signed movie posters on its walls. Kirkland’s Anna is one of them. She even picked out the spot for it to hang.
Now, ironically, she doesn’t sit there. “I don’t know why I don’t sit under my picture,” she pondered. “I picked out the spot where it would go, but now I don’t sit there. I guess it’s because I have a bad neck and I have to turn my head to see it.”