Top 10 Los Angeles diners to cure your hangover


There's no doubt that Los Angeles' food scene is known for celebrity chefs and cutting edge gastronomical trends. But sometimes that "Chef-tastic" dining experience pales to what really nourishes the soul (and errant hangover), which can be found in All-American diners. Luckily L.A. has its share of Mom & Pop diners serving comfort food. To that note, here are ten of the top diners around town (listed alphabetically).

1. The 101 Coffee Shop
Warner Ebbink and chef Brandon Boudet currently anchor The 101 Coffee Shop, formerly the Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop. Popular in films ("Swingers," "Entourage"), The 101 Coffee Shop, with its retro '60s vibe, serves great fare with sourced ingredients from local farmers markets. Open for breakfast and lunch, try the Rush Hour Special (two eggs, bacon or sausage, three silver dollar pancakes or French Toast).

The 70-foot, freestanding Bob's Big Boy signThe 70-foot, freestanding Bob's Big Boy sign (Photo: Lori Huck)

2. Bob's Big Boy
We veer to Burbank to include the world famous Bob's Big Boy. Built in 1949, the 70-foot-tall, freestanding Bob's Big Boy tower sign is a beacon to the hungry. Open 24 hours, diners can nosh breakfast all day, grab a burger, slurp one of the famous thick milkshakes served in the silver goblet, or even sit in the "Beatles Booth," where the Fab Four dined during their 1965 summer tour. Bob and the Beatles certainly wouldn't steer your wrong.

The famed Du-par's in the Original Farmers Market
Du-par's in the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles (Photo: Lori Huck)

3. Du-par's
Another L.A. institution, Du-par's opened in the 1938 in The Original Farmers Market and is still going strong today. Handed down from Tiny Naylor to son W.W. "Biff" Naylor, whose daughter Jennifer serves as executive chef, Du-par's is the quintessential Mom & Pop shop that is happy to offer you their legendary buttermilk pancakes or Tiny's Patty Melt. With your full belly, you might want to nap soon after.

4. The Griddle Café
With lines out the door, The Griddle Café is that right mix of hipster and good food. Known for their scrumptious pancakes including the Red Velvet panCAKE, and the hair of the dog, "Saturday Morning Fever" (Bailey's and Kahlua swirled into the batter). Don't worry The Griddle Café also serves lunch in the form of burgers like the Broken Heart (with artichoke hearts — get it?), tacos and salads to help you make it through the day.

Mel's Drive-in Diner in Hollywood
Mel's Drive-in Diner in Hollywood (Photo: Lori Huck)

5. Mel's Drive-in
Hollywood movies and diners have a symbiotic relationship with almost all of the diners on this list having appeared in movies (Mel's appeared in "American Graffiti"). Although originally hailing from the Bay Area, the SoCal locations of Mel's Drive-in seem as if they've been part of the L.A. scene forever. The Hollywood location is housed in the historic Max Factor building and also sports The Celebrity Bar. No wonder this diner is often included in many Best of Late Night Eats.

6. Nick's Coffee Shop & Deli
Nick's Coffee Shop & Deli is old school in the very best of ways. Serving reasonably priced meals, Nick's is open until 3 p.m. and there is usually a wait, but the lines move along. Diners will be thrilled with the diverse number of breakfasts and burgers, including the crowd pleaser, "Michael's Aussie Burger" (your choice of beef, turkey or veggie patty, with one pineapple ring, bacon, tomato, lettuce and one egg over easy.)

7. Nickel Diner
When opened in 2008, the Nickel Diner's location in downtown Los Angels skirted Skid Row. Nine years later, the diner is alive and well under co-owner and chef Monica May and co-owner, designer/manager Kristen Trattner. The Nickel Diner serves the DTLA crowds, and offers the "Hangover Helper" (scrambled eggs with bacon, Italian sausage, potatoes, topped with pepperjack cheese, avocado and salsa, with toast). Actually, you may not even need the hangover to have that delicious cure.

Pann's neon sign, Los Angeles, California
Pann's neon sign, Los Angeles, CA (Photo: Wikipedia Creative Commons, ChildofMidnight)

8. Pann's Restaurant
Architecturally, Pann's Restaurant is a diner icon. Built by architects Armet & Davis in the "Googie" style in 1958, Pann's was the passion project of husband and wife George and Rena Panagopoulos (George and Rena's family still runs the restaurant). Although now only open for breakfast and lunch, Pann's can be found on the back roads to LAX and serves an awesome offering of burgers, chicken, southern fried pork chops with applesauce and of course all the traditional breakfasts.

S & W Country Diner
S & W Country Diner in Culver City (Photo: Lori Huck)

9. S & W Country Diner
A personal favorite in the Culver City 'hood, S & W Country Diner is a cash-only, kitschy joint whose motto, "The home of good country cooking with a little bit of attitude," is perfect for the nearby studio crowds. S & W is generous with portions of excellent food, including their "Build-a-Breakfasts," and acclaimed, "S & W Famous Chicken Salad Melt."

10. Swingers
Swingers is open late, until the wee hour of 4 a.m. at their Beverly Blvd. location. This hipster diner has a clever décor and serves everything from chicken picatta or turkey meatloaf, to the usual burgers, eggs, omelets, pancakes, etc., and often with organic ingredients. For those craving late night caffeinated sugar snacks, try the Rocket Shake (chocolate ice cream blended with an espresso shot, espresso beans, and topped with whipped cream). After all, if you're up at 4 a.m., you might as well stay up all night anyway.

Lori Huck works in television development as well as writes on entertainment, travel and the arts. She's a fan of the vibrant arts scene in Los Angeles and is a member of various film, television, and arts organizations.

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