Kid Hit Menu Items: The Village Bakery & Café in Atwater Village’s plump and freshly baked goods are hard to resist. But those doughnut muffins are amply stocked, so if you can nudge the children towards savory items before they hit the sweets, then you’ll do fine. Especially for breakfast/brunch, when the list includes egg and tofu scrambles, potato leek pancakes, French toast, pancakes, bacon, quiches, lots of sides, and specials. The kids’ grilled cheese sandwich ($4.50) comes tomato-free, packed with oozing cheddar, and finished off with crisped edges.
Adult Perks: Hearty sandwiches — for which two free hands are helpful — are served on the soft-inside-firm-outside buns made in-house. On a related note, don’t miss the bread selection behind the counter; that’s after your eyes get past the cookies, whoopie pies, cupcakes, muffins, croissants, etc. Whether it’s a simple green side salad with tomatoes and carrots, or a special chicken BLTA salad that makes for a heavier duty but not over the top meal, salads are fresh and spry. There’s plenty of coffee for your morning (or afternoon) needs. But no booze, though.
Pros: The Village has two rooms so it’s super roomy and comfortable, with farmhouse, cafe chairs, and benches making up the overall mix-and-match style. A wide corridor and big space in the back towards the restroom doubles as a stroller parking lot. The counter service is staffed by very nice people. Nearby attractions include Griffith Park, golf courses, the L.A. River, and some kids might enjoy the walk along the 5 overpass while their neurotic parents hustle them along in traffic-induced terror.
Cons: This place closes either in the late afternoon, or at 7:00 p.m. a few days a week, so plan accordingly if you need to eat or pick up dinner there. But since most of us with kids eat ridiculously, embarrassingly early, that “late” time works just fine, ahem.
Changing Station: Yes
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Street parking on Los Feliz Blvd. or side streets.
Other Tidbits: It took me way too long to check out the Village, located in the former LA Bread space on Los Feliz Blvd. just east of the 5 and the L.A. River. And now I’m hooked. The reasons why are many. The Village has the eclectic, low-key feel of an arty college town café (my son kept asking questions about the expressively goofy animal-themed paintings on display), kind of like a much more comfortable, relaxed, and omnivore version of Claire’s in New Haven. The choice of individual tables or communal seating helps, as does proximity to home. Outdoor seating suits those with pets, too. Photos of musicians assigned to table numbers makes for good conversation. (Except the Sex Pistols is a little complicated until a certain age, and Willie Nelson’s recent troubles don’t necessary have to be discussed quite yet, either.) And here’s yet another new reason why the Village is the gift that keeps on giving: the kitchen makes a wonderful thyme-packed, diced veggie and chicken potpie topped with a flaky pastry that serves 1-2, eliminating the need to stop at Clementine when I pass through Century City. Any day I find a potpie within a five-mile radius is reason to cheer. I take home a couple of pies, and a few pretty iced sugar Chanukah cookies or some other treat get enjoyed. Win-win.
3119 Los Feliz Blvd., Atwater Village
Hours: Monday, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Tuesday- Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.