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LA Weekly "12 Best Diners in Los Angeles"

LA Weekly has a new best of list "12 Best Diners in LA" Pann's made number #6 and Dupar's comes in at #2 (and I have to scratch my head at that). and at #1 Nick's Coffee Shop & Deli. What do you think and what was left off?http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/20...

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  1. Yumm…Nickel Diner #5

      1. re: wienermobile

        Wiener, or anyone else for that matter,

        Did the diner called Hollywood Hills Coffee Shoppe (it was in the exact location of 101 Coffee Shop more than a decade ago) resurface anywhere ?????

        1. re: kevin

          Found this hope it helps "In July of 2001, the Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop moved out of the Best Western Motel and to a new free-standing location, about two miles east of the original spot. The new address was 1745 N. Vermont Ave., about two blocks south of Franklin. As of 2010, the restaurant has closed. Meanwhile, the diner in the motel was renamed "Cafe 101".

      2. Having been to #'s 12, 10, 9, 7, 6, 2 and 1 I'd also add Fred 62, Pepy's Galley, Ronnie's Diner, John O'Groats, Blue Star and Gaffey Street Diner to this list.

        27 Replies
        1. re: Servorg

          A big yes for John O' Groats. I'd also add Martha's 22nd St Grill in Hermosa and Uncle Bill's in Manhattan Beach.

          1. re: Servorg

            Is Blue Star still open ?

            And that reminds me no one has mentioned 410 Boyd St in years.

            1. re: kevin

              Yelp says they are open but their website is dead.

              1. re: wienermobile

                Usually when the website is dead that trumps Yelp. but who knows sometimes that just means the website is just not worth it for them to pay the costs of upkeep, etc.

              2. re: kevin

                You mean Cocola? I used to be there several times a week back then.

                I still used to go back often as the Boyd Street Grille [after Coca Cola sued them for the name] as nothing inside changed, same crowd … just the signage was different.

                But now, several iterations have gone by. Isn't it now the Escondite.

              3. re: Servorg

                it would appear there are no good diners in the san fernando valley.

                  1. re: kevin

                    Nat's has a second location in Canoga Park
                    8336 Topanga Canyon


                    1. re: SIMIHOUND

                      Enthusiastic +1 for Nat's West Cafe on Topanga Cyn. Blvd.

                    2. re: kevin

                      Nat's (Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks edition) calls to mind the great Sondheim lyric: "And perhaps a sticky bun!...Or four!"

                          1. re: Servorg

                            well, i know they exist, but does anyone rate them?

                            eat n park i haven't been to, but i thought the consensus was it's barf.
                            nat's early bite i haven't been to, but i think it's better regarded.
                            bob's i wouldn't consider a diner.
                            the coral cafe i've been to, and it's...o.k. maybe it's a coffee shop rather than a diner, if there is, indeed, a distinction.
                            the tallyrand is only o.k., except for their sourdough bread, which is outstanding.
                            harry's is...maybe o.k. minus.
                            frank's coffee shop is...minus.

                            1. re: linus

                              "the coral cafe i've been to, and it's...o.k. maybe it's a coffee shop rather than a diner, if there is, indeed, a distinction."

                              The CC gets a huge number of bonus points added to its score for being 24/7 (and for offering delivery too).

                              1. re: Servorg

                                i didnae know it was 24/7. thanks for info.

                                1. re: Servorg

                                  Bonus Bonus point it's supposedly haunted

                                  1. re: johnnyshungry

                                    Details please? This may be start of another good thread? Plus, are ghost sightings appetizing?

                              2. re: Servorg

                                coral cafe, not to be confused with coral tree cafe, was pretty bad like a homey thought not as good version of a norm's.

                                1. re: mitchbart

                                  love eat, would not consider it a diner.

                                  1. re: linus

                                    This is the LA Weekly. Ignoring restaurants or anything in the San Fernando Valley is what they do best.
                                    This is the go-to paper for self-important Westside hipsters.

                                  2. re: Servorg

                                    Pepy's definitely Pepy's. I like Ronnie's a lot I just don't know if they crack the top 12.

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      Thank you for remembering Fred 62!! Two things that a True Diner really ought to have are an encyclopedic menu and 24/7 schedule; Fred's got both. And while I have never, ever been there before my normal bedtime, I have to say that everything I've had there, between bread or buns or on a plate, has been at least fully satisfactory.

                                      1. re: Will Owen

                                        and this eSs at Fred 62 ???????????

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          If Earl can eat the entire left side of the menu, it's a diner.

                                    2. Also would add Gardena Bowl coffee shop

                                      1. It's about time Nick's on Pico got some love.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: lad1818

                                          Nick's on Pico does have an encyclopedic menu par excellence.

                                          And it might just ben the only cafe that is the closest approximation to a Jersey-diner perhaps.

                                          I like it. but the wait is another thing;

                                          1. re: lad1818

                                            re: nick's on pico
                                            used to work near there and ended up eating there regularly.
                                            one on the best things about leaving that job was that i didn't have to go to nick's anymore.

                                            completely forgettable food.
                                            cooks handling raw meat with their bare hands, wiping the hands off on the apron, and then handling the raw tomatos/lettuce--great way to cross contaminate.

                                            if the food was more inspired, the cross-contamination issures probably wouldn't have bothered me as much, but to take that kind of risk for mediocre food, seemed unwarranted to me/
                                            the main thing that nick's offered was friendly, homey, comfortable and comforting service.
                                            going into nick's was like going back in time and taking a little break from the rat race.
                                            it wasn't about the food at all.

                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                              that almost sounds like a favorable review due to the homeyness and genuinely friendly service.

                                              i keep trying it, hoping it will be better.

                                              i did like their huevos rancheros. but i hated their patty melt compared to Pann's, which is the piece de resistance of all pattie melts.

                                              the chocolate chip pancakes were good.

                                              the HN kosher salami scrambled with eggs sounds good as well as the chili size but alas i have tried neither just yet.

                                              and every time i go there, even though it's just me dining at the counter, it took more than an hour or so for a space to open. i didn't really understand what was going on.

                                              1. re: kevin

                                                let me help you understand:
                                                nothing food-wise was going on.

                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  Ok, got it.

                                                  I just thought that you still somewhat liked it bc the service and homeyness was so great.

                                                  That might be an interesting thread: places where the food stinks but the service is great, atmosphere is great, aura is great, etc.

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    the good service was not able to overcome the lousy food and the obviously poor food handling.
                                                    when that job ended, i was thrilled not to be spending money nor "calories" at the place.

                                          2. How about Apple Pan?

                                            Or is a breakfast menu a prerequisite for "diner" status here in LA?

                                            12 Replies
                                              1. re: westsidegal

                                                I don't mean to open up a can of worms.

                                                But what would be the definition of the "diner" ?

                                                I guess the word gets tossed around with some ambiguity and confusion.

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  this is completely arbitrary:

                                                  to me, a diner need to offer more than a few sandwiches, pie, and an array of burgers.

                                                  if it were to offer a good cherry coke and good fries (heinz ketchup) it gets extra points.

                                                  also, must offer a few forms of eggs.

                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                    Yeah, and eggs that are not in the form of egg salad, which is why the apple pan wouldn't count.

                                                    1. re: westsidegal

                                                      A diner is a prefabricated restaurant building characteristic of American life, especially in the Midwest, in New York City, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and in other areas of the Northeastern United States, although examples can be found throughout the United States, Canada and parts of Western Europe. Some people apply the term not only to the prefabricated structures, but also to restaurants that serve cuisine similar to traditional diner cuisine even if they are located in more traditional types of buildings. Diners are characterized by offering a wide range of foods, mostly American, a casual atmosphere, a counter, and late operating hours. "Classic American Diners" are often characterized by an exterior layer of stainless steel—a feature unique to diner architecture.

                                                    2. re: kevin

                                                      not to open up a can of worms, but a lot of the places described here seem more like coffee shops than diners to me.

                                                      i again wonder what the difference between a coffee shop and a diner is.
                                                      perhaps it's the layout of the restaurant, or an east coast/west coast thing.
                                                      i just don't know.

                                                      there's this thread:

                                                      1. re: linus

                                                        I'm afraid to click on that thread if that's the one with over 500+ posts.

                                                      2. re: kevin

                                                        Shit, I think this calls for someone to fire up a blunt, get thoughtful, and create a list of the distinct AND overlapping characteristics that distinguish, and are common to, a café, diner, coffeeshop, coffeehouse and deli. And, while at it, draw up another such list for betties, buckles, crumbles, cobblers and crisps. Maybe the genius who drew the flowchart for soup dumplings can take this on.

                                                        1. re: Wayno

                                                          First of all, Wayno, it is a regional thing. If you've ever seen the artist John Bader's book "Diners", all but maybe a very few are stand-alone buildings, whether converted railcars or storefronts or "novelty" buildings; they all have a counter with stools and may or may not have booths. John himself grew up in Atlanta and worked most of his early career as an art director in the New York area, and most of the diners are on the East Coast. The only diner I can think of in our area that looks like any of his paintings is the Brite Spot. (John also did a series on LA taco trucks, which he showed at a gallery on Wilshire about ten years ago. No argument about what those are!)

                                                          I think for SoCal purposes we've already mentioned the primary criteria, all which don't have to be met to qualify, but maybe we could assign points. For instance, a lot of places that used to be 24/7 have stopped doing that, as Pann's has. Maybe one or two will restrict breakfast hours, especially if they want me to stay away, but I can't think of any. Actually, one thing that I'd suggest does indicate a coffee shop that might otherwise be a diner is short business hours, most usually 6 or 7 AM to around 2:30 PM, much like the plate-lunch places in Nashville. The Fox in Altadena, the Reyn and Ron's in Pasadena … and even Pie'n'Burger would fall into that category.

                                                  2. I don't really have any places to add; I can think of others that I like okay, but the best of those are not in LA at all. I think it's funny that the writer went on and on about Pann's embodiment of dinerishness, because while I see what she's getting at I really don't think of Pann's as a "diner" – unlike DuPar's or Nick's or even S&W. The only thing dinerish about Pann's is their counter, but all of that disappears if you go back into that sort of Florida room, with the potted palms and tables. And the proprietor is too well-dressed!

                                                    I do have more of a problem with DuPar's placing; I'll admit that the only one I've been to is the one out on Ventura, but after I had a deadly-dull burger there and complained about it here, everyone said "Shut up and order the damn pancakes!" So I did, and was not impressed with those either. I can do better with Krust-Eaze …

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: Will Owen

                                                      Diners similar to N J

                                                      When I think of a diner I picture the diners of the east coast - huge menu and everything is great. Most of the places on this list do not fit that criteria. Does anyone know of a place that feels like a true N J diner?

                                                      1. re: flowergirl

                                                        Harbor House down in the OC fits that criteria http://www.harborhousecafe.com/ I've only been to the Dana Point location.

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Not too many encyclopedic-menu places in SoCal (other than delis) – Park Pantry in Long Beach and Twohey's on the edge of San Marino are two that I've been to, and neither is on anyone's Best Of list (though I like them okay). Oh, and Fred 62. Yeah! How could they include S&W and not Fred 62?

                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                            Park Pantry is not a diner, and serves dreadful food as well.
                                                            You'd be better off at Marie Callendar's or the likes of.
                                                            Mimi's Café would be a gourmet destination.

                                                            1. re: Will Owen

                                                              I love Twohey's, though it's more of a sentimental favorite for me. Their burgers are pretty good, and their hot fudge sundaes (actually, a lot of their fountain offerings, including frosty limes) are great.

                                                              1. re: Savour

                                                                sounds like a nice spot... i miss a good ice cream selection and restaurant that has all that stuff.

                                                      2. To have Dupar's and the original pantry on that list invalidates the whole list.
                                                        Besides, they are both coffee shops, not diners.
                                                        How many of them have been on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the TV show?
                                                        At least the Oinkster has, yet somehow missed the list.
                                                        I get the fact that it is not open for breakfast, nor 24/7, but then what exactly qualifies a place to be, or not be, a diner?
                                                        Commentary above addresses many of those issues, yet apparently no definitive answer exists?!

                                                        19 Replies
                                                        1. re: carter

                                                          "...yet apparently no definitive answer exists?!"

                                                          That's a puzzlement all right...especially considering how we always come up with a definitive (and normally unanimous) answer on this board.

                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                            The Kettle in Manhattan Beach is a good example of a diner. Open 24 hr, wide selection of food, large counter, breakfast all day, with lunch and dinner items and home made baked good.

                                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                                              Another senior moment for me (becoming less and less rare unfortunately) that I didn't think of the The Kettle since I do drive down there from Mar Vista for early breakfast on Sundays a few times a year. Thanks for adding it to the list.

                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                Kettle - one of the few and original coffee shops in the greater area, and one of the two predecessors of the Mimi's Café chain, the other being the French Market in Weho.
                                                                Never thought of as a diner, ever!

                                                                1. re: carter

                                                                  Just like Fred 62, or any of the others mentioned here, it's a good lad. Or is that a good "LAD"? An LA Diner!

                                                              2. re: Servorg

                                                                Servorg, this is apparently one of those questions like "What is the evening meal called?" Some say Supper, some say Dinner, some say It Depends … It's easy to identify a diner if it occupies a retired rail car, or facsimile thereof, except that my favorite diner in Nashville that used to occupy only a beached streetcar (they've exanded since then), and which is called Brown's Diner, is open only from mid-morning until I think 11 pm, and serves not much beyond burgers and beer. So it can't be a diner, really, whatever it's called.

                                                                I was offering Park Pantry only because it has counter service and a large menu. As for the quality of its food, I've managed to get something satisfactory on each of three or four visits, though I'd not award any stars. But if The Kettle qualifies, then I'll offer one of my favorites, Harry's 24 Hour Family Restaurant in Burbank, just north of Burbank Blvd on San Fernando. Get anything but the mashed potatoes, which truly suck – the CFS comes either as breakfast or dinner, so get it as breakfast because the hashbrowns are really good. The tortilla soup (Fridays only) is quite good too. It's owned by Koreans, but of course the kitchen is 100% Latino.

                                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                                  see, harry's seems like a coffee shop to me.

                                                                  the food there is, again, only o.k. for me.

                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                    i think we might just get cut up in semantics, or is it linguistics. ?????????

                                                                  2. re: Will Owen

                                                                    Will, I drug my carcass to Harry's this morning for a post bicycling fuel up. When I arrived about 5:50 AM I was the only diner there. Two waitresses of the "been there - seen it all" types told me to sit anywhere. I had mostly very good service (just had to find her for my third and final cup of coffee, but a minor hiccup).

                                                                    I decided on the chicken fried steak with potatoes, eggs over easy and pancakes. The food was "okay" for lack of a better word. Linus called it. The actual chicken fried steak was the sort that is run through the tenderizer machine, which I actually like. You could cut it with only a fork. The white gravy was also "okay"

                                                                    My issue was that the pancakes (unfortunately not the fluffy type but more of the "leathery" type) and the potatoes came out luke warm at best. I think the cook finished them and then finally got the CFS done and sent it out. So one item, the CFS was nice and hot (the eggs also were, while not luke warm, were not exactly hot either).

                                                                    If I was in the neighborhood I would eat breakfast here again. But this was maybe C+ coffee shop food at best. The next time I am going to drive 20+ miles for breakfast before dawn it's going go be back to Brent's Deli in Northridge - with NO doubt.

                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                      Wheres Harry's ????

                                                                      And what was the movie you guys were referencing in the other thread ?????

                                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                                        Harry's is in Burbank. And if there were only some way to try and find out what movie was being referenced? Some site that helped people find out information like that? Damn, if only there were!

                                                                      2. re: Servorg

                                                                        i swear i saw you bicycling down riverside.

                                                                        1. re: linus

                                                                          If it was 4 AM on Sunday you would have needed be on Jefferson heading for Playa Del Rey to catch me on the bike.

                                                                          1. re: Servorg

                                                                            no, it was later. around the same time frame you said you hit up harry's. i guess i misunderstood and thought you biked there.

                                                                          2. re: linus

                                                                            llinus, do you bicycle too ?

                                                                            you and sevrog should start a hound cycling team.

                                                                    2. re: carter

                                                                      The traditional definition of a "diner", that of a prefab structure (rail car, etc) serving traditional American foods at all hours tells me that real diners do not really exist in LA. In fact the idea of the diner is dated and maybe needs to be put to rest. I'm all for giving the word "diner" an updated meaning. IF the restaurant serves traditional American food at all hours complete with booths and counters, they can be called "diners".

                                                                    3. Aside from Mel's, the only other true diner I can think of is Beep's on Sherman Way near the airport. For me, Dupars is a coffee shop for geezers, not a diner.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                        when geezers want pie and coffee it really hits the spot.

                                                                        1. re: jessejames

                                                                          yes it does. And, their pancakes are pretty good also.

                                                                          1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                            and chocolate frosted brownies (with nuts), and a lot of good stuff...i think dupars takes a lot of heat on chowhound but i love it.

                                                                            1. re: jessejames

                                                                              I can't argue with that. Their pie is much better than Callender's

                                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                                  sometimes you don't need much -- just good pie, good pancakes and a comfortable spot to enjoy

                                                                      2. I love Snug Harbor in Santa Monica. An original 1940's diner that still has it's charm and good food and great breakfast burritos too.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                                                            looks like a great spot ... i like the snug harbor in NOLA!

                                                                          2. I think the omission of Metro Cafe is an egregious oversight. (And it's located only 2 blocks away from LA Weekly's main offices!)

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: J.L.

                                                                              JL what do you order there ??????

                                                                              1. re: kevin

                                                                                Sauteed bananas house special pancake, chevapchichi sandwich, bacon on the side, coffee.

                                                                              2. re: J.L.

                                                                                I love Metro Diner and go there regularly since they are within walking distance. But somehow I never really think of them as a "diner".

                                                                                Their grilled mushroom salad is hands down my favorite salad. And I'm not a salad eater.

                                                                                1. re: J.L.

                                                                                  I went by recently and the sign looked liked it had been removed. Is metro still the same?

                                                                                    1. re: J.L.

                                                                                      They did a minor remodel not too long ago. Fresh paint, etc. Interior and exterior was getting a touch tired. It looks nice.

                                                                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                                                                    What do you and others think of Nick's

                                                                                    Wiener ???????