Wednesday, January 13, 2010

TONIGHT: Spirits With Spirits at Miceli's Restaurant

(Photo from Miceli's website)

If your New Year's goals include seeing a ghost (or simply swapping ghost stories), visiting some of L.A.'s most historic locations, or making new friends, then GHOULA may be just the group you've been looking for. The Ghost Hunters of Urban Los Angeles meet up on the 13th of every month at one of the city's many haunted locations to share stories and, in some cases, even do a little supernatural sleuthing. This month's meeting, which is open to everyone, takes place on Wednesday night (8pm to 12m) at Miceli's Restaurant in Hollywood. Miceli's has a resident ghost named Toni who loves to give people a playful jab in the ribs. From

SPECIAL NOTE: GHOULA has reserved what the restaurant refers to as "Toni's Section." (Toni is the resident ghost) So, come out for this unique evening of pizza and ghost stories, and more importantly, giving "Toni" the attention she craves.

THE DATE: January 13th, 2010 (Wednesday)
THE PLACE: Miceli's (1646 N. Las Palmas, Hollywood) map
THE TIME: 8pm to the witching hour


In 1927, the "Pig and Whistle" opened and was an instant success, exemplifying what we think of today as glamorous Hollywood. After a good run, serving the movie stars of the 1930's and 1940's, they finally closed in the 1950's. What does this have to do with Miceli's Restaurant? Although, in recent years, there has been an attempt to bring the "Pig and Whistle" back to its former glory, if one really wants to experience what it was like to step inside this fabled establishment of the past, all one has to do is walk around the corner, and step through the doors of another fabled establishment.

When the famous Hollywood hot spot was gutted to make room for another occupant (ironically the future home of a low grade pizza parlor), the Miceli family pulled all of the hand-carved booths, wall panels, and fixtures out of the dumpsters and fit them (sometimes haphazardly) into their popular pizza parlor.

However, this is not the only reason to visit this local landmark. Since 1949, Miceli's Restaurant (formerly Miceli's Pizza) has been serving great Italian food to the Hollywood community. They were the first pizza house in tinsel town, and remain the city's oldest Italian restaurant. Now, in it's sixth decade of business, it is no mystery why it is still as popular as ever. Miceli's is the kind of comfortable place that the "blue collar" folks rub elbows with high society. In the past, diners have been surprised by Presidents (Kennedy and Nixon) who have dropped in to enjoy a slice of their famous pizza. You just never know who will show up and sit in the booth next to yours.

However, if a ghost shows up, and sits in the booth next to yours, it can only be "Toni." Antoinette "Toni" Heines went to work at this landmark when it first opened, and she was working there when she died not too long ago, and it seems she is still there keeping an eye on things to this day. One employee told GHOULA that every time she used to walk by him, she would give him a playful poke in the ribs. Although she is no longer with us, he still feels the unmistakable poke from time to time. He feels that it is her way of reminding him that she is still there. He also recalled a time when, he was adjusting his tie in a mirror, when he saw (in the reflection) a door behind him slam shut when there was no one around.

In life, it seems she had a bad habit of accidentally dropping drinking glasses. Now, whenever a glass inexplicable slides off of a table or counter, it is blamed on Toni. When these "reminders" happen, the employee involved will go to the stained-glass portrait of her in "Toni's Section," and acknowledge her presence. The staff claims that this simple act, curtails the activity. Though, she is most active at the end of November, if no one remembers her birthday (the 19th) or her date of death (the 24th), her spirit seeks attention all year long. So, if you find yourself in Hollywood, craving a slice of pizza, why don't you visit her favorite haunt and say hello. The attention will make Toni very happy.

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