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Anyone been to Pete's lately?

I'm going to Pete's Cafe (downtown) with a small group. Reviews on this board have been mixed and are not at all current. Sounds like the burger is the way to go though.

Anyone have ordering suggestions or timely commentary?

You are my heroes.

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  1. i was there about 3mo's ago and ordered the hellman burger and the bleu cheese fries. nothing has changed, the eats were yums!

    1. I was there a couple of weeks ago and had a mushroom bacon cheddar burger. It was a little overcooked for my taste but I still liked it a lot. Seasoned (blue cheese, chipotle, cheddar, etc) fries were really good though the blue cheese ones didn't have as much blue on them as last time. Mac n cheese was really good.


      1. Was there a few months ago. I got the Hellman burger, ordered med. rare. What I got was past well done, but I ate it anyway and it was pretty forgettable. My dining companion got some other burger, ordered medium and it was about medium well(I don't know how she got a less overdone burger than I!!). Fries were okay, nothing to write home about. Oh, on a sidenote, our server was friendly but the hostess looked stoned out of her mind. Zombie-ish even.

        1. I must admit I have not been for a while. Been distracted with the likes of Wood Spoon and Redwood Bar & Grill, as well as 410 Boyd.

          But in the past I've always enjoyed the Hellman burger, as well as those fries.

          1. I went about a month ago for a birthday party celebration. I had the seared tuna with no miso mayo. I got a sandwich with extra mayo and mayo on the side. Nice one! I said no mayo and I think the waitress heard, mo mayo. The seared tuna was still good. Others got the Mac and cheese and Hellman burger and everything was delicious.

            B+ on food.
            C for the service.

            1. I'm going to be the Little Black Raincloud:

              I went on July 4, when everything else in Downtown was closed. I had the Hellman Burger, which everyone else seems to think is great. It's essentially a decent hotel room service cheeseburger, nothing more. It's nowhere near as good as the burgers put forth by 25 Degrees, Lucky Devils, or even The Counter. I ordered it medium rare and got it medium well. The vaunted bleu cheese fries were downright disgusting. Too much cheap bleu cheese made for a fatty, very salty pile of limp potato noodles with no crispness whatsoever. Horrible. The gastric distress they provided a few hours later was a nice reminder of my folly. The menu just seems stocked with ho-hum items - a steak here, some pasta there, a few salads, a little pasta - one would find in the average business traveler-oriented Hyatt. I don't get the allure at all.

              As for the service, I was one of only two people seated inside. There were seven - I counted them, SEVEN - staff members indoors, as well as another server attending to the diners outdoors. After I sat with my menu folded in front of me for ten minutes, craning my head about, as the hostess passed me several times and another waitress was caught in an animated conversation with a favorite customer, someone finally broke from their conversation fifteen feet away to ask me if I'd been helped. He fetched the chatting waitress, who greeted me with, "Hi, you're not in my area, but I can help you." Wow. Great. Every customer loves to be made to feel like an imposition.

              That was my first and last visit to Pete's.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Woolsey

                I have to agree about the Hellman Burger. It is OK but certainly nothing to go out of your way for, and yes those bleu cheese fries are gross. Pete's used to have a very good spicy papardelle pasta with clams that was excellent, but removed it a while back. Since they did that, I really see no reason to go again.

              2. Was there a couple of weeks ago... The service was atrocious.

                When we first sat, our server didn't come for 15 minutes to get drink orders. It took him another ten minutes to bring back 3 waters, a coke and a glass of chardonnay. There was a specialty pot pie, but the server didn't know the flavor, so he went off to find out what it was. When he returned 15 minutes later, he said, "So you folks ready to order?" and my friend said, "Well I can be once I know what the pot pie is..." Doh! The waiter still didn't know, but he added, "Well I can go back and find out, but it's not gonna be ready for another half an hour." At this point, my friend said screw it, and just ordered a salad and the mac'n'cheese. I ordered the chicken, and another friend ordered the vegetarian dish. My chicken was dry; I personally can't stand blue cheese, and am much more of a traditionalist when it comes to the dish, so Pete's mac is yucky to me, and my buddy didn't really care for the "nonspecifically creamy mess" either; however, the bright beacon of the evening was my other friend's couscous, tasty in the face of the other failures. Service was so slow--could've watched an entire wall of paint dry in the time it took for drinks to arrive and then the mains and unfortunately water refills never came, until one of my buddies went to the drink station to grab a pitcher for us.

                I've never been a big fan of Pete's, and visits like this one remind me why.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Emme

                  I'm curious: Are you not a resident of one of the zillion-dollar lofts in the area? I've noticed on my visit to Pete's that there seemed to be two tiers of service, one for normal off-the-street folks and another for the regulars from the lofts. As the room began to fill, I could pick out who were the regulars and who were the newbies by the way the waitress and manager greeted them, with the speed their requests were fulfilled. Now, at old joints with regulars, the regulars will get chatted up and acknowledged, but the new visitors still get the same level of service. That's how those places got to have regulars in the first place. Even The Pantry has this level of democracy. But at Pete's especially, the locals get doted over while the unfamiliar faces are left in the weeds.

                  Oddly enough, as more people began to crowd in, my service got better. It's as if the waitress realized she needed actually to start acting like a waitress. That, and perhaps she realized that, unlike in France, gratuity is not compulsory.

                  1. re: Woolsey

                    Funny. I've been before several times, particularly before concerts or games at the Staples Center (or before the Forum), but alas, I am no regular, and it certainly shows. It's definitely worse when it's empty; I concur on that. Our waiter was just so arrogant about the whole evening, like we were holding him up by wanting to have a meal. (I was a server for a short stint in college, so I have respect for the job, don't get me wrong.) But, seriously, it was like, how preposterous that we would want to know what specials there were *prior* to ordering, and how ridiculous we were in assuming that drinks and meals would come in a timely manner without an air of disdain and a sense that we were truly putting him out... If you don't want to be a server, don't. Plenty of other jobs to do, but if you choose to take a job, take pride in it, and do it well.

                2. Burger is always the safe way to go. Drinks are good, crowd is good too.
                  Although the redwood might surpass the hellman soon as the DT burger of choice.
                  Still upset they took the wings off the menu.
                  TIP of the Day: as everyone seems to know the service is not of this earth. When eating brunch sit at the bar at least you will not be forgotten.

                  1. I've only been to Pete's to eat once, and I had a good time there. I think the space (inside) is very nice and the ladies' room is really lovely. The food was decent, but I don't remember the service.

                    One thing that I do remember, though, was being approached by people for spare change on the way to and from the parking lot. The location is a bit odd to me. Is Skid Row right around the corner? I remember driving by people sleeping in tents. I think Steve Lopez from the LA Times should add a review of Pete's to his Skid Row report.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: katkoupai

                      Skid Row is literally right around the corner, yes.

                    2. Went about three weeks ago -- had the Helman Burger and the blue cheese fries as well. I thought it was tasty -- not out of this world, but better than your average burger. All the guys had the burger and all the women the mac 'n cheese. Everyone left satisfied. The service wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't terrible.

                          1. I was there 2 months ago and won't be returning.

                            I ordered the eggs benedict.

                            The sauce was good, but the rest of it was inedible. It was way overly salted. It was also cold.

                            There were about 10 of us and the items came to the table at many different times.

                            My nephew's hamburger was so late the waitress offered him a cup of ice cream.

                            He opted for vanilla.

                            The ice cream was inedible! It had gummy stuff running through it.

                            When the waitress noticed I wasn't eating the eggs I told her about the salt.

                            She said to me... Funny, I couldn't eat mine either this morning. She thought she had salted it a few times.

                            I helped myself to the garlic fries sitting next to me.

                            Now they were delicious.

                            I'll just have to find them elsewhere.

                            1. I posted this elsewhere as well but I just went there about 10 days ago for the first time and it failed to meet the lofty expectations set by numerous threads on this board. The Hellman burger was decent, like someone else said very much a hotel room service-type burger, and the bleu cheese fries were okay but nothing extraordinary.

                                1. It has been totally redesigned and revamped. So....it should be interesting. Haven't heard about the new menu and space, so please report back.