Cominos Grill

This handsome sign came out of the attic of one of the earliest farms in Santa Cruz County. It was used as a sort welcome sign for the Cominos Grill, part of the Hotel Cominos (c.1873) of Salinas, California. Owned by brothers George and Mike Cominos, it was the premiere hotel on the Central Coast during the 1920s. Presidents Taft, Hoover, and Coolidge stayed there, as well as many governors and senators.

In 1919 Architect Ralph Wyckoff was hired to renovate both the exterior and interior and most likely selected this sign. The building was demolished by the city after the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. The Cominos Hotel is mentioned in three of John Steinbeck's books, including East of Eden.

"...the Cominos Hotel served as the focal point of the town's social life and entertainment. Wedding receptions, ballroom dances, town meetings, businessmen's lunches and formal dinners were all held there, and many of the town's children grew up playing in the halls and the elevator, the first in the entire area. The hotel was the focal point for the town's night life. As such, it appears in the writings of John Steinbeck." - Monterey County Historical Society


The Cominos brothers are credited with the phrase "The Salad Bowl of America", referring to Salinas's lettuce crops (today a 5 billion dollar industry). Eighty percent of the nation’s vegetables are grown in the Salinas Valley and are shipped all over the world.


The item was for sale  at but has since sold. 

The description is below.

Imagine the hours of fun you could have rearranging these letters! The frame of the sign is hinged at the bottom, two swivel latches hold it closed at the top. The swivel latches are turned to release the face of the sign for access to the bulb and letters. There is a multi-colored velum cylinder attached to a metal cap with fins that rotates around the light bulb, set in motion by the heat of the bulb. The fabric cord has one tear in it that could be taped. I've left the original cord in place to maintain the historical integrity of the piece, but if you prefer I can replace it with a new fabric cord.

The frame is hammered copper inset with a peacock blue. The body of the sign is sheet metal, nicely rusted, but not too much to be a structural issue. The plastic letters you see in place are the total that come with it. There is a metal manufacturers tag that attaches to the bottom face of the sign but has fallen off. The brads are still in place so it can be reattached with some care. The tag reads: "The Luminite, Fully Patented, Display Products Co., K.C. MO"

Measurements: 19" wide by 23" high and 8" deep. The cord is just over 9 feet long (110").


Salinas, California circa 1924 Syracuse china. Cominos Bros., immigrants from Greece, established the hotel in 1917. John Steinbeck, who was from that area, wrote about it in his books. Nice little ice cream shell.

Available for purchase through Restaurant Ware Collectors Network

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Hotel Cominos

 Su   © KSOCA 2012