April 27, 2017

Kid-Friendly Eats: Nick’s Cafe

Nick’s Cafe is an old-school diner straight out of a Raymond Chandler novel—owned by two former LAPD detectives and a favorite of former LAPD chief William Bratton, it’s located in an industrial area just east of Chinatown and directly across the street from Los Angeles State Historic Park. Even though it’s a hipster hangout, there is nothing fancy or upscale about this place. Forget organic, forget arugula: this is where you go to throw down an old school ham-and-eggs breakfast (their specialty), ginormous burgers and chili fries.

If you eat inside, be prepared to sit elbow-to-elbow with your fellow diners at the horseshoe-shaped counter (no tables inside). You can also enjoy the old LA memorabilia that covers the walls. But if you come here with kids, the outdoor seating is where it’s at, an umbrella-shaded patio with views of the Gold Line Chinatown station and the Metro train yards. No one will be put out if your darling throws a tantrum or jumps up and down in between bites.

Like every other breakfast spot in DTLA, this place gets packed on the weekends, so get there early to avoid an hour-long wait. Oh, and bring cash—they don’t take no stinkin’ credit cards.

Nick’s Cafe
1300 N Spring St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(323) 222-1450, www.nickscafela.com
Hours: Mon-Fri 5:30 am-3 pm, Sat-Sun 6:30 am-4 pm
Kid-Friendly? Extremely.
Prices: Most menu items are under $10.

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About Alisa Rivera

Alisa is a writer whose work has been featured in the Oregonian, the Syracuse Post-Standard, Latina magazine and other publications. She has also had her short fiction published in the Berkely Fiction Review and Iris: A Journal About Women. Alisa and her husband, James Hightower, have been happily raising their son, Nathan, in downtown Los Angeles since 2008. You can learn more about Alisa's work at www.alisarivera.com.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Since I rarely carry cash around with me anymore, a visit to Nick’s always requires an extra ATM run and/or an annoying ATM surcharge. Perhaps it’s worth it, but since so many other places take cards, Nick’s has a tough time competing for my dining dollar.

    So far, the newly reopened Clifton’s is looking promising.