Richard Fulton

Richard Fulton

Fifth St. Dick's Coffee Company

Richard Fulton ran Fifth Street Dick’s Coffee Company, a storefront coffee and jazz house.  Homeless for four and a half years, he lived on the streets of downtown Los Angeles and was known as “Fifth Street Dick.”  In homage to his former life, his logo for the coffeehouse was of a homeless man pushing an overflowing shopping cart.

He opened the coffeehouse only a few days before the 1992 upheavals took place.  He often said that the first people he served coffee to were the National Guard.  Yet despite the devastation in the community, Fifth Street Dick’s soon flourished as it provided a much-needed spot for the people in the community to gather. Everyone was welcome, whether or not they purchased a coffee or anything else.

Fifth Street Dicks soon became associated with the trademark high-volume high quality jazz that Richard would play throughout the day  and evening.  Tables and chairs outside Fifth Street Dicks became the location of intense chess games sometimes going on until 3 or 4 A.M.  Soon, he started offering live jazz performances seven days a week. Inside, people lined up for coffee, read, and upstairs in the jazz club, musicians jammed sometimes until five or six in the morning.  World-class jazz musicians & jazz groups would play or stop by to jam after their gigs at the Jazz Bakery, Catalina’s or Hollywood Bowl.  And he provided opportunities for young musicians to play and older musicians to make a “comeback”.

Richard Fulton died in March 18, 2000 from throat cancer.