Nearly two decades ago, Port Richmond, California's Hidden City Cafe became the birthplace for some of Pixar's best movie ideas, and now the place has closed its doors for good.
As the story goes, "Toy Story" filmmakers John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter and Joe Ranft all sat down for lunch at Hidden City Cafe in the summer of 1994 and, realizing that they'd made something truly special with "Toy Story," bounced new project ideas off of one another for what to do next.
In a promotional video for "Wall-E," writer-director Andrew Stanton recounted the infamous lunch, saying "'Toy Story' was almost complete, and we thought, 'Well, geez, if we're going to make another movie we gotta get started now.'" That one little diner conversation wound up giving early life to four of Pixar's greatest animations: "A Bug's Life," "Monsters, Inc.," "Finding Nemo" and "WALL-E."
Afterward, Hidden City Cafe became the stuff of Hollywood legends and an integral part of Pixar's story. Small tributes to the place can be found in several of the company's movies, including "Monsters, Inc.," where a restaurant in the background was named Hidden City Cafe, and "Toy Story 2," in which a car's license plate reads "HDNCTY," according to Slashfilm.
Hidden City Cafe owner Shellie Bourgault made the announcement of the cafe's closure in late May via YouTube, saying, "I do apologize for the sudden closure. It was a big surprise for us as well."
The restaurant had previously paid its own homage to the Pixar story with a display featuring goodies from fellow Pixar films "Up" and "Ratatouille," among other items. How sad.