Kid Hit Menu Items: A place that’s called the Blue Star Diner and has a Googie style boomerang in its logo gives you a pretty clear idea what kind of food you’ll find. This restaurant is located in the smack dab in the middle of the industrial scrap metal district south of Downtown Los Angeles (and south of the 10). They’ve got all the diner staples everybody loves, and the grilled cheese on a ciabatta-esque bread is quite good.
Adult Perks: Interesting vibe, good mix of people (destination seekers, south downtown office workers, workers from the yards, etc.). A few beers are available. Cool jukebox. Salads and plenty of veggie options are on the menu, too, not just greasy spoon stuff.
Cons: Gosh, who knows what contaminants lurk beneath the surface and/or are floating in the ether in that area. I’ve given the kid a good scrub-down when we get home after wandering around East 15th Street between Alameda and Santa Fe.
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Street parking. That corner of L.A. has its own rhythms and a lot of different types of vehicles moving about. So I’ve found parking to be a little unpredictable, but there is some sort of parking lot I haven’t quite figured out.
Other Tidbits: The Blue Star Diner’s relative normalcy in an unconventional location makes it somewhat of a hidden gem. I’m always surprised more parents don’t know about the Blue Star; in fact, I’d never heard of it until a friend of our friend Marissa told her about it. The food is fine; certainly better than one might expect from a diner in the scrap metal district, where plentiful food trucks are more likely to serve the best food for miles. But this retro, quasi-hipster diner is a lone outpost surrounded by scrap metal yards, where enormous machines and magnets the size of small structures move objects (including cars!) around. To what end, I’m not sure. Scrap metal is one of those opaquely fascinating businesses.
Anyway, we used to eat there when the toddler was deep in the construction and digger phase to gaze at the machines and the brute intensity and funk of it all. The view of Downtown from this perspective is also quite lovely. Decommissioned train tracks and crossing that separate Blue Star from the main metal yard are an added bonus for the railroad fans. But keep in mind it can be kind of intense for some kids; we once went with a pal who got a little overloaded by the Scrap Metalland experience. Given the daytime nature of the neighborhood, Blue Star has Langer’s-type hours, and closes after lunch service. I’d guess these blocks are terrifyingly quiet at night. Or if they’re not, well, it’s probably not a place you want to hang around for too long.
2200 E. 15th Street, South Downtown (between Alameda and Santa Fe)
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.