The Tam O'Shanter's One-Night-Only Carhops: the Derby Dolls

In honor of its centennial, the storied Atwater Village restaurant is (briefly) throwing it back to its car service days.

The Tam O'Shanter/The Derby Dolls

What to Know

  • Friday, Sept. 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • $25 per parking space reservation; that money will be credited to food and drinks ordered during the event
  • A "satellite" bar will raise money for the Derby Dolls; a portion of each $15 cocktail will be donated to the roller derby organization

The carhop?

Call this skate-wearing server one of the sassy, swift, and on-the-roll symbols of Southern California, a dine-out icon of the early rise in car culture.

And while the carhop never fully rolled into the sunset — you can still find the whimsical, wheel-rocking employees on rare occasions — you're more likely to enjoy this singular throwback experience at a pop-up event.

And such an event is putting its toe bumpers down in Atwater Village, all to celebrate the centennial of a beloved institution: The Tam O'Shanter.

True, the Tam's appearance is pure storybook, but back in the 1930s the eatery embraced the proliferation of the automobile by adding car service to its appetizing amenities.

That fanciful feature was eventually shelved, but it will return on Friday, Sept. 23 when the Derby Dolls don their skates and make for the picturesque restaurant, all to play carhops for the night.

Or rather, the early evening: It's all happening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and reserving your parking space in advance? You can, for $25, with that money being credited to what you order while there, whether you go with a burger, fish 'n chips, or something equally as delectable.

But wait: If you'd like to sit at an outdoor table and forgo the car part, all to still enjoy the ye olde carhop service, you can do that, too.

Securing rides to and from the restaurant would be the perfect idea if you'd like to savor the event's specialty cocktail, created in honor of the Derby Dolls. An outdoor "satellite" bar will offer the celebratory sips for $15, with a portion of each libation, called A Different Kind of Derby, being donated to the roller derby organization.

The Derby Dolls-inspired drink, by the by, includes "light Irish whiskey and a housemade mint syrup pair with sweet summer stone fruit and bitter herbal Italian Amaro."

Other Derby Dolls-themed sights will weave through the sunset soirée. Temporary tattoos, a DJ to set the music-forward mood, and the opportunity to "get your very own derby name from the Derby Dolls" is also on the roster.

Happy 100th to The Tam O'Shanter, a fabled restaurant that looks as though it originated in a long-ago fable. And cheers to the Derby Dolls, a fast-flying troupe that will lend the centennial celebration some wheel-y fun flair, all by throwing back to the historical eatery's car service days.

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