Eagle Rock is an enclave of Los Angeles where the pressures and anxieties found elsewhere in the city don’t seem to apply. Judging by the community’s pleasantly lethargic, small town feel, some might be surprised to learn that the northeastern enclave was named the second hottest neighborhood in the country by Redfin in 2014.
After exploring the cozy town, which spills into neighboring Highland Park
, you will fall head over heels for local, beloved businesses run by people who actually like their jobs. You
know that actor/barista rudely checking her text messages for an update from her manager while you wait to order? She isn’t in Eagle Rock. Instead, you’ll find young families, artists and average Joes who actually mean it when they ask how you’re doing.
Think modern hobby shops, preserved neighborhood dining gems and new, upscale options stripped of the pretension that sometimes accompanies neighborhood patriotism. And for a small town, Eagle Rock has made some pretty big ripples, especially on the silver screen. Good Will Hunting was written in Eagle Rock. Tom Cruise’s character from Days of Thunder is from Eagle Rock. Star Trek III, Top Gun, Reservoir Dogs and Beverly Hills Cop each had Eagle Rock cameos.
Amazing film location aside, Eagle Rock is a place where creativity and honest work go hand in hand. A place where there’s no need to worry about what time it is, because hey, what’s the rush? Make your way with ease through the crown jewels of comfy little Eagle Rock and find out the where to eat, drink, shop and stay:
Eat and Drink
There is something to be said about the old-school diners of Los Angeles. They make us feel some type of way.
Cindy’s take the coziness of a 60s diner and revamps it with bright splashes of color and a young, bustling staff who makes you feel right at home. You can’t go wrong with the classic two eggs, house potatoes and toast, but don’t turn down the huevos rancheros if they’re calling your name—not everyone does them well. Cindy’s does. Oh, and play your cards right and you might just run into Cindys’ most loyal customer, Justin Timberlake.
The modern version of a Mexican deli. Cacao is a wonderful spot that sensates your palette with indulgent flavors from the Baja California region of Mexico. Expect rich seafood dishes and other gourmet Mexican eats festive enough for a celebration and welcoming enough for a small romp with a few friends. This place turns food into magic. Hecho in Eagle Rock.
The smaller the hole-in-the-wall, the bigger the flavor! At Aslan, find juicy skewers of chicken, lamb and beef, perfectly seasoned with crisp, fresh vegetables and fluffy, warm rice. If you love middle eastern food, check out this spot and get the best of Greek, Armenian and Mediterranean. The customer service is beyond excellent and the pride in running this great restaurant is evident by the number of five star Yelp reviews from people who flock from all over SoCal.
Little Beast Restaurant
Little Beast, named for the co-owners’ son, epitomizes the charming and delicious neighborhood vibe of Eagle Rock. Bring a date, bring your friends, bring your own little beasts … there’s comfort and healthy (but mostly comfort) food here to satisfy all walks of life. Whether it be chef Sean’s famous Duck Liver Mousse or the Little Beast Burger Jr. from the kids menu, everyone’s happy … especially if you sit on the sweet, fairy-lit patio.
Click HERE for more of Chef Sean Lowenthal's Eagle Rock foodie picks.
It’s jaunts like the Oinkster that keep LA and all of its vegan and farm-to-table glory in check. Sometimes you just need a no-frills pulled pork sandwich with a side of Piggy Fries. According to the Chef of Little Beast, Sean Lowenthal, the Oinkster Pastrami sandwich ain’t bad either. The burgers and sandwiches are stacked so high, it’s not a bad idea to split with a lover or friend. If you want to eat yourself into a coma, this is where to do it.
and the Dodger Dog
—ah, the famous dogs of Los Angeles. Now let me introduce you to an underdog worth your time. Her name is Meea’s and her eye opening contenders are: The Eagle Rock (pickled papaya, avocado, pork rinds, spicy mayo and sriracha), the Seattle Street (bacon, grilled onion, sauerkraut, brown mustard and cream cheese, or the Mexicana (pickled jalapeno, fritos, guacamole, cheddar cheese and sour cream.) Take a seat on their patio and try all three (and more).
Eagle Rock Brewery Public House
Start off with an American beer flight paired perfectly with four small appetizers (British Columbia oysters and Smoked Fish Dip are both musts.) Eagle Rock Public House is onto something in pairing craft beer with progressive California food fare. After your round of appetizers you might just find that you can’t help but to stick around for the fancy Bucket of Chicken. Or the Fried Cod Sandwich. It happens to the best of us.
Eagle Rock Italian Bakery & Deli
Holy mo’fucking cannoli, this place does it right. Order just that, a cannoli, but don’t sleep on the deli meats, salads and the plethora of imported Italian delights. If you’re a sucker for a good Italian sub, they also have delicious sandwiches that might just be the best bang for your buck in town. The bread is crusty on the outside and chewy on the inside, just like the Nonna ordered.
Interested in making cheese, wine or other delicious things? Milkfarm hosts classes on Saturdays dedicated to learning more about all the above. This little local cheese shop specializes in artisanal cheese and other delicious edible products. Whether you pop into the cheese shop for a quick sandwich, to pick up a charcuterie board for the books, or just to snag a free cheese sample, Milkfarm is worth a pop-in.
Image courtesy of @milkfarmLA
Holy s#!* this coffee will kick you in the ass and help you finish a research paper, type up a proposal or inventory your entire life. Seriously, this coffee is delicious and strong. Fairly new to the area, Zweet can easily be missed. Look for the green Connor's Plumbing sign, as they occupy the same building. Inside, you’ll find a modern but homey vibe that keeps you grounded in your book or research paper. If you have more than one cup however, you may find yourself flying off the handles, itching uncontrollably in the corner or staring deep into the grooves of the wooden table. Drink responsibly.
You won’t find $9 deviled eggs at this lovely and lodge-y bar. (Biggest racket in the food industry if you ask this writer.) The crowd here is lively and rock ‘n roll. With a strong connection to music happenings in Eagle Rock and Highland Park, operators of the Black Boar also have themed nights catering to the hard rock, psychedelic and country music lovers. Hell, if you get friendly enough with the staff, you may find yourself swinging at a piñata at midnight outside their bar for a band member’s birthday.
New bar on the block Room 31 only opened in summer ‘16, but it’s already become a mainstay for when you’re in need of a classy cocktail. Hidden in the back of 5 Line, Room 31 serves up carefully crafted cocktails fit for a spa day (they use crushed lavender, people) and tasty appetizers (giant pretzels and lobster ceviche), too. How to get in? No password needed, just enter through the 5 Line and look for a sliding wooden door opposite the kitchen.
Acorn is the collaborative creation of native Angelenos (AKA unicorns) who were inspired by weather and rugged landscape. A home, garden, gift and design shop, ACORN perfectly fitting for the artistic and quiet lifestyles of so many people in the area. With both indoor and outdoor space, ACORN helps you re-think your space, big and small and unlock its potential with everything from cards and candles to furniture and plants. Stop by and build your own desert garden, why don’t you? If design is not your forte, enlist ACORN to do some personal shopping or landscaping for you.
Image courtesy of Acorn
This is where you go if you want to feel at home while you’re shopping for your home. For the true home decor hunter, MIAOU has the little curiosities you have been looking to put the final touch on any living space that needs some love. Currently only open Thursday - Sunday, MIAOU accepts both walk-ins and appointments to pick up a beloved new piece that will give you years of joy. The details are beautifully designed. Don’t let the quality fool you, prices are most certainly within reach for the more modest budget … and they deliver!
Image courtesy of Yelp user Mark S.
Curve Line Space
Los Angeles is home to many artists (as if we need to tell you that) and Curve Line Space is a leading exemplar of how modern art has found its way into smaller pockets of Los Angeles. Showcasing artists whose works transgress several disciplines of abstract and modern art, the fine art gallery also does artisanal framing. If you’re interested in live performance in addition to some, deep creative thinking check out their calendar for an ever-changing lineup of bands and performance artists.
Regency Inn Los Angeles
You’ll mostly find motels in Eagle Rock, with the exception being Eagle Rock Regency Inn. This is a cozy and modest approach to modern hotel accommodations. Some have called it LA's best kept secret. The hotel, while being comfortable and nearly swanky, is situated between Dodger Stadium and the Pasadena Rose Bowl, providing the kind of experience that makes you feel like a real Angeleno.
Image courtesy of Regency Inn Los Angeles
Ever dreamed of getting naked in an outdoor clawfoot tub in a tented oasis outside your own airstream in Eagle Rock? Us neither. But once you’ve seen these pics it’s hard to go back to the usual guest studio. The vintage-themed bus sleeps two with kitchen, heating, internet and a whole host of glowing reviews. Book HERE.
Image courtesy of AirBnB
Want the entire living space to yourself? This hip, new modern guesthouse has a huge bed and bath, retro-inspired kitchen and living areas, high ceilings, a quaint backyard for alfresco dining and indoor fireplace if the chill drives you back in. There are washers and dryers and though there’s just one bedroom, it sleeps 4. We’ll let you work out the logistics. Book HERE
Image courtesy of AirBnB
Bennett Cordon is a culture digger from Los Angeles in constant orbit seeking out new distances and trajectories. Are you new here? Let him show you around. He's made of the city. Follow him on Instagram @futurememoir and Twitter@bennettcordon.
Featured image courtesy of Cindy's