Far from the 405 and the glitz of Hollywood lies a quaint little town East of it all. Nestled between Pasadena and Glendale, the towns of Highland Park and Eagle Rock are home to some of the finest culinary creations in Los Angeles. The developing neighborhood is growing each day with new cafes, coffee shops, boutiques, and vinyl shops. While some may say the neighborhood is going to blow up into the next ultra-hip Silverlake, I still see it as a cute culinary haven, and one which I am lucky enough to call home. Within walking distance from Occidental College (my school) I have a plethora of dining options, and I believe since it is my duty (and your lucky day) that I should share a few with you.
1. Max City BBQ
4729 Eagle Rock Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90041 (323) 254-4227
One of the newest additions to the Eagle Rock food scene, Max City has already become an Oxy student favorite by serving up some of the best BBQ in town. Try the tri tip sandwich or rotisserie chicken with a side of their insanely delicious mac and cheese. Trust me, don’t pass up the mac and cheese.
2. The Oinkster
2005 Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock, CA 90041 (323) 255-6465
The best pastrami sandwich in town, hands down. The Oinkster serves up homemade pastrami and rotisserie chicken all day long, and has built a following of carnivores from all around Los Angeles and has even been featured on the popular Food Network show, “On the Road”. Get the classic Reuben and take time to enjoy the slow cooked goodness.
3. Four Café
2122 Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock, CA 90041 (323) 550-1988
Perhaps the most popular restaurant in Eagle Rock, Four serves up fresh soups, sandwiches, and salads from their seasonal menu which boasts a wide variety of local and sustainable ingredients. The veggie burger is freshly made in-house and can be served on a bun or wrapped in sweet butter lettuce. All of the salads are creative and healthy, so you never leave Four feeling hungry, or guilty. The desserts are freshly baked daily and are certainly not to be overlooked.
4. The Coffee Table
1958 Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock, CA 90041 (323) 255-2200
One of the only places in Eagle Rock serving breakfast all day, The Coffee Table is a one stop shop for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, coffee, drinks, dessert, or just a study sesh. The multiple seating areas offer a variety of unique dining atmospheres. Try the French Country Breakfast for some fantastic French Toast, or the breakfast burrito for a heartier start to the day. They also offer a full bar which is a very nice touch.
5. Casa Bianca
1650 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90041 (323) 256-9617
The best pizza in Eagle Rock. It is always worth the wait for one of these freshly tossed pies. Casa Bianca offers a vintage atmosphere with home- made Italian food done right. Try your pie with sausage, onions, olives, and bell peppers. And don’t forget to ask for it well done.
1576 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90041 (323) 478-2791
Cacao makes Jonathan Gold’s “Top 101 Restaurants in LA” list, and Oxy students sure do show their support. The restaurant serves creative twists or Mexican favorites, including Duck Carnitas and Fig Molé. Happy Hour is a must for any Oxy student of age, and their margaritas are only $5. Unlike many Mexican restaurants, Cacao’s dishes are always fresh and far from greasy.
7. Blue Hen
1743 Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock CA 90041 (323) 982-9900
Blue Hen does a variety of Vietnamese fare while using only organic, sustain- able, and local ingredients. Their Shrimp Spring Rolls and Sesame Chicken are a must, and if you’re feeling a little under the weather, their Pho will knock out any cold symptoms and work just as well as your mother’s chicken soup.
8. Little Beast
1496 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90041 (323) 341-5899
Little Beast offers a refined seasonal menu and a gorgeous atmosphere. Students love to take visiting family here for a more ‘upscale dinner’. The menu is always changing and evolving, so you’ll never have the same dinner twice. Definitely the perfect date spot.
1731 Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock, CA 90041 (323) 254-0284
Organix is the hidden gem for any vegan student. The market sells a wide selection of vegan foods and organic produce. While there, stop by their deli and order one of their delicious made to order, vegan sandwiches, salads, or burritos. Don’t miss out on the Castro; with a made, in-house patty and caramelized onions, this veggie burger will make you never miss meat again.
10. The York
5018 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (323) 255-9672
The York is Highland Park’s neighborhood gastropub, and is one of the best on York Boulevard. Students can frequently be seen enjoying a fine lunch or dinner, and on Thursdays those of age choose the York for late night drinks and socializing. Oxy students love The York for birthday celebrations and to bring friends and family visiting from out of town. The York is open daily from 10:30 a.m.–2:30 am., and offers a wide selection of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bar food items, all at affordable prices. Their signature dishes include truffle grilled cheese, mac and cheese, a pulled pork Cuban sandwich, and shrimp bruschetta.
5102 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (323) 256-9455
Elsa’s is one of the oldest establishments in Highland Park, and the best coffee shop to study at on York Boulevard. Aside from being a full service panaderia, Elsa’s recently included a full breakfast and lunch menu, serving up fresh, homemade Mexican favorites like enchiladas, tacos, and sopas. Elsa’s owner, Ermundo, took over ownership last year, and since then has strived to make Elsa’s an active member of the Highland Park and Occidental College community. Elsa’s regularly donates pastries to campus events, and as a Harvard grad and UCLA professor, Ermundo is always available for homework help. All of the pastries are delicious and fresh, especially when paired with one of their signature Mayan Mochas.
12. The Highland Café
5010 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (323) 259-1000
The daily stop for any Highland Park hipster, this café serves up fantastic breakfast and lunch items from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. The fish tacos and quinoa veggie burger are both killer. They even serve a delicious omelet available all day called “The Oxy”. The café is a great place to meet up with friends and enjoy a latte, or to ride solo and read a good book at one of their couches or outdoor tables.
13. Café de Leche
5000 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (323) 551-6828
The coffee shop that first brought the horchata latte to York Boulevard
is an Oxy student staple. Students can be seen studying hunkered down with one of their delicious tea or coffee drinks. Café de Leche became so popular for being a good study spot that they have had to turn off the wifi on weekends to allow people to have a spot to sit and enjoy their coffee!
5105 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90042
The best ice cream on the East Side. Hands down, Scoops gets the gold medal for most creative, freshest ice cream in town. Flavors change daily and range from “Yam Burnt Sugar” to “Pineapple, Coconut, Port Wine” to “Blueberry Goat Cheese”. Their signature flavor, “Brown Bread” can be sampled any day, if they haven’t sold out yet. All of the ice creams are made fresh daily with ultra fresh ingredients. For only $3, sweet lovers can enjoy a huge cone full of two of their favorite flavors. And don’t be embarrassed about spending a chunk of time sampling every flavor available—that’s what you’re expected to do at Scoops!
15. Donut Friend
5107 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (213) 995-6191
The “Chipotle” of donuts. Donut Friend is a full service personalized donut shop. The “Jets to Basil” donut is filled with goat cheese, strawberry jam, and fresh basil. It is topped with a sugar glaze and a balsamic reduction. Or you can take a bit of a daring route with the “Srirachosin”, which is a donut filled with peanut butter, strawberry jam, coconut bacon, and a bit of sriracha sauce. You can also choose any of the 40+ fillings, glazes, and topping to create your own masterpiece. The donut possibilities are endless!
16. Jugos Aztecas
5213 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (323) 243-8579
York Boulevard’s very own juice and smoothie bar serves up the freshest drinks with a variety of fruits and vegetables for a lot less than Jamba Juice. Oxy students like to walk here from campus before class to pick up a green smoothie or acai bowl, especially on a hot day.
17. Huaraches Aztecas
5225 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90042 (323) 478-9572
Right next to Jugos Aztecas, this hole-in-the-wall Mexican spot has been featured as one of the best by Pulitzer prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold. A huarache is a fried masa base sometimes filled with beans or cheese, and topped with a variety of meats and toppings. At Aztecas, try it with chorizo, pastor, or for the daring, the cabeza (pig head). A super huarache is only $5 and can feed a hungry college student very well.
2506 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90041 (323) 257-5600
Owned by Oxy natives, Spitz has grown into a multi-location Mediterranean staple that serves up the best Turkish “doner” sandwiches in Eagle Rock. Students receive a discount, and love to come enjoy dinner at one of the outdoor tables while playing a wild game of Cards Against Humanity. The Zesty Feta Doner is one of their signature sandwiches, featuring light lavash bread, zesty feta, and pepperoncini. Try it with their homemade falafel or freshly shaved beef and lamb doner kabob. Don’t forget to also try their mixed Street Car Fries with “The Works”: sweet potato and regular fries doused in garlic aioli, zesty feta, onion, green pepper, tomato, olives, pepperoncini, chili sauce, and choice of meat…it’s killer.
19. Dave’s Chillin’ and Grillin’
2152 Colorado Boulevard, Eagle Rock, CA 90041 (323) 490-0988
Pay a visit to Dave for the best sandwiches around. Dave makes his own chili sauce from scratch and names it Dave’s Hotts. All of the ingredients are fresh, and even the bread is baked fresh daily. Try the tuna melt with extra chili sauce, and pair it with one of their homemade mixed berry smoothies. For carnivores, try the Hodge Podge: meatballs wrapped with roast beef, pastrami, and topped with onions, mozzarella, parmesan, and Dave’s Hotts.
20. Eagle Rock Italian Deli
1726 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90041 (323) 255-8224
If you’re going for a hike or picnic, make the Italian deli your first stop for an Italian grinder, some fresh olives, and a bag of their homemade cookies. All of their breads, meats, and cheeses are incredibly fresh. The Caprese sandwich makes for a lovely lunch for any vegetarian or carnivore.