From Illegal to Hidden to Downright Delicious
Written By: Lyndsay M. Marvin 10 LA Eateries with a Story to Tell
Los Angeles is full of history, especially when it comes to the eateries and restaurants. There are restaurants that have been in business since before The Great Depression, which is basically unheard of in LA. There are also a couple eateries with illegal backgrounds. Even with such diverse histories, one thing remains the same: the food is mouthwateringly delicious.
Starry Kitchen, a pan-Asian pop-up restaurant, was once an illegal apartment restaurant/kitchen. Quite literally, Nguyen and Thi Tran used to cook their tofu famous balls on their apartment patio. Although Starry Kitchen wasn’t able to obtain a brick + mortar, they’ve found a new home as a pop-up restaurant with Button Mash. From apartment patio to legitimate kitchen, Starry Kitchen has perfected pan-Asian food.
943 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Cole’s is a landmark saloon with a bit of a twist: There’s a hidden speakeasy in the back. It’s called The Varnish and is housed in a refurbished storage room in the back. Cole’s opened in 1908 in the Pacific Electric Building, and is known as the Originators of the French Dip. Walking in, you get the feel of an early 20th century saloon complete with cocktails and drafts.
118 E 6th St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Greenblatt’s Deli-Restaurant and Fine Wine Shop established by Herman Greenblatt in 1926. It’s one of the top places to go for the best deli and spirits in Hollywood, and has always catered to the Hollywood industry. Numerous celebrities have and continue to shop at Greenblatt’s. Customer favorites include, but are definitely not limited to, the homemade matzo ball soup, hot pastrami ruben, #3 hot corned beef sandwich, and double chocolate fudge cake. Greenblatt’s offers dine-in, take-out, and home delivery.
8017 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046
El Cholo was established in 1923 by Alejandro and Rosa Borquez, and originally named Sonora Café. Eventually named after a figure drawn by a customer, El Cholo made history. As a chef for 54 years, Joe Reina forever influenced the Mexican restaurant industry. El Cholo was the first Mexican restaurant to introduce nachos and the first margarita made with premium ingredients. In 1967, El Cholo became the world’s largest user of Cuervo 1800 Tequila. Their filet mignon tacos were awarded best taco in 2010.
1121 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90006
El Coyote Mexican Café was established by Blanche and George Marsh in 1931. Their margaritas are world famous, and a customer favorite is the ostrich tacos. The most notable décor is the year-round Christmas lights. Many celebrities have frequented El Coyote, and autographed photos line the wall of the entrance. Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco have visited, as well.
7312 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Canter’s was established in 1931 by Ben Canter and his brothers after their move from Jersey City to Los Angeles following the 1929 stock market crash. It’s one of the oldest Jewish delis in LA. Their pastrami was voted the best by the Los Angeles Times, and their corned beef is fantastic. Celebrities have always frequented Canter’s, especially with it being down the road from CBS Studios. Tour buses stop at Canter’s, too! Another great thing is that Canter’s is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, except on Jewish holidays. The ambiance is welcoming, with wonderful 1950’s décor.
419 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Pink’s has been a Hollywood legend since Paul and Betty Pink started selling hot dogs from a cart in 1939. It all started with chili dogs, but has grown into so much more. There is a wide variety of hot dogs (30 to be exact), hamburgers, big portions, and great prices. Many of the hot dogs are named after celebrities, who frequent the historic stand. Pink’s is a Hollywood landmark, with locations all over the country, and is internationally renowned. It has been named #1 hot dog in California and #2 in the United States!
709 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
Lawry’s Prime Rib has been a Los Angeles legend since 1938. The name may sound familiar: They’re the creators of the world famous Lawry’s Seasoned Salt. Located in Beverly Hills, Lawry’s serves prime rib from a tableside silver cart to customers in an elegant and respectful atmosphere. They have a dress code: tank tops, torn jeans, shorts, hats, casual gym wear, and baseball caps are not allowed in the dining rooms. Reservations are recommended, so call ahead!
100 N La Cienega Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Nick’s Coffee Shop and Deli was established in 1946. It’s known for its mouth-watering breakfast food, and has a menu that’s longer than the last book I read. It’s great, though, because you can get pretty much anything you want. The restaurant and kitchen are small, so often times it takes a little while to get the food prepared. However, the wait is totally worth it, because the food is spectacular. During the 1990s, Kathy Love, a waitress at Nick’s, became very ill with cancer. Her husband, Alan, bought Nick’s out of bankruptcy in 2008 in honor of Kathy. He is the current owner. Nick’s opens at 7:30am daily, but closes at 3pm as it’s specifically for breakfast, lunch, and brunch.
8536 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Langer’s Deli is home of the Original #19 Pastrami Sandwich (hand-cut hot pastrami, coleslaw, Russian dressing, swiss cheese on double-baked rye bread). Langer’s was opened by Al and Jean Langer in 1947 (with only 12 seats) and went through a series of hardships to get to where it is today. It has been at the same location since opening. The idea of “curb service” was pretty much invented by Langer’s. Al’s son, Norm, has been there almost every day since 1963 when he started working for him (and is the current owner). Langer’s was ranked #16 of the Los Angeles Magazine’s “64 Greatest Things in LA” in 2008. Langer’s is so in-demand that they deliver to the continental United States by air Tuesday through Thursday.
704 S Alvarado St
Los Angeles, CA 90057