Love the layover: Encounter Restaurant at LAX

Don’t let the scaffolding fool you:

While the landmark Theme Building in the center of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is about to undergo a year-long $9 million restoration, the space-age themed Encounter Restaurant at the top of the building will remain open.

In February 2007, a 1,000-pound, 5-foot by 10-foot section of stucco coating fell off an upper arch of the Theme Building, onto the roof above the Encounter Restaurant and on the ground below. No one was hurt, but the restaurant was closed for eight months during the emergency repairs.

(Postcard from the Encounter Restaurant)

To the delight of travelers with long layovers, the Encounter Restaurant re-opened last November. It has the same Jetsons-inspired theme music in the elevator, the same great views, an updated menu, new lava lamps, and a host of other retro-repairs.

It’s pre-security, so you can meet up with friends from town. (Unfortunately, the restaurant’s Web site seems to be in for repairs.)

Hours: Lunch daily (11 a.m. to 4 p.m) and dinner Thursday through Sunday (4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m).

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