Westside Eating on a Budget or in a Holiday Rush
A whole flock of holly-seasons have raced by since I lived in Brentwood Village and hung out on the Westside as a budding broadcaster and dining columnist. Much has changed and restaurants, good or mediocre, have come and gone so it’s heartening that at least a couple of casually wonderful places are still present and thriving.
If you find yourself with a healthy appetite and a tight budget, stop by the American classic counter place known and respected for six decades as The Apple Pan (10801 W. Pico Blvd, at Glendon Ave.), for a juicy hickory burger and an order of irresistible fries, washed down with steaming coffee or a frosty root beer and topped off with a cut of warm, wonderful apple or banana cream pie delivered with no nonsense by vintage servers sporting aprons and paper hats. Enjoy every bite, tip generously then scoot because those people lined up along the back wall are hungrily waiting for a turn at that vinyl stool.
Got time and cash on your hands in the same nabe? Junior’s Deli at 2379 Westwood Blvd. is a spacious, brightly-lit, very noisy and somewhat pricey bastion for enormous portions of classic Jewish comfort dishes, such as the outstanding smoked or boneless grilled whitefish and meaty Reubens ($13.95). The popular deli used to be a show biz hang-out where I hosted a celebrity table way back when I would broadcast ‘on the air’ from notable restaurants. Emphatic and innovative founder Marvin Saul had an extensive, award-winning ‘heyday’ and not a lot has changed except for a pervasive sense of server attitude. Relax and nosh on a broad menu of classic half or whole, piled high sandwiches on fresh-baked rye or a bagel plus a bowl of matzo ball soup ($6.95) and fresh baked desserts. No rushing allowed here, and I’ll bet a kosher pickle you’ll leave sated and satisfied.
A more surprising survivor is the cheap but cheesy El Coyote Café, a Mexican junk food place that hasn‘t changed (or improved) in decades but continues to pack ‘em in at 7312 Beverly Blvd. (twixt Fairfax and La Brea). It has to be the “legendary margaritas” and its crowd pleasing, boisterous party aura that washes down a basic Gringo menu that’s nothing to howl about. To paraphrase a current TV spot—“Would you like your indigestion now or later?”
Like the song proclaims, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” If you’re holiday shopping on the West side, these places reviewed above prove you don’t have to ‘go platinum’ for nourishment just minutes from the stores and more extravagant dining places. Don’t settle for a drive-thru… Come as you are but arrive ravenous.