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.
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
Prices: Most menu items are under $10.