Kid Hit Menu Items: Fred 62 has all the standard diner faves, plus some modern tweaks. The fries come in that cute little folded paper basket, and we always eat the fried potato disc on top of the toothpick that holds grilled cheese and other sandwiches together, even if I have no idea how long they sit around in the kitchen for. There’s the Just Kid N’ burger, which at a modest three ounces is a reasonable amount of food. Milkshakes are blended fresh, naturally, and all the fun stuff you’d expect at a retro-Americana joint like Fred’s.
Adult Perks: While no longer the novelty items they once were, dishes such as the Thai Cobb salad, noodle dishes, many veggie items, and other creative combos on the big menu give you a lot of options beyond standard coffee shop fare. But during my pregnancy, I was perfectly content to enjoy a nice circular tuna melt sandwich on rye. Beer and wine are available, too.
Pros: Seating is mostly big, comfy booths, which allow for good people watching inside or on the street if you’re sitting by one of the large windows. Yet now that our older one is tall enough, he likes to sit at the counter, just like his mamma always preferred to do when she was a little girl. Stroll down to excellent neighboring businesses Skylight Books and La La Ling before or after a meal.
Cons: Fred’s can get crowded during peak lunch times, but sidewalk tables help with the overflow issues, especially if you have bulky stuff in tow.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Street parking on Vermont and side streets, or in the city metered lots that are parallel to and east of Vermont.
Other Tidbits: A post-Rockabilly style, 24-7 coffee shop with updated classics and multi-culti interpretations of down home American diner food, Fred 62 reflected a shift in L.A. food culture and the changes afoot in then-dormant Los Feliz when it opened in 1997. Chef/owner Fred Eric was the right guy to take this leap into the sophisticated casual niche of the L.A. restaurant scene. Regardless of how you felt about some of the straining-to-be-clever punny names, tofu chilaquiles, a selection of Asian-influenced noodles on the NooDeli menu section, the Juicy Lucy burger, LA LA Salad etc. showed off a smart new concept. Fred’s has since evolved into a neighborhood institution that eagerly serves the area’s new baby boom. This is quite a shift from back in the 90s, when the clientele was mostly surly hipsters, and the service tended to match this ethos. We could not go to Fred’s without witnessing some sort of comical service blunder; whether it was bottles of ketchup that slid off a tray and smashed on the tile floor, or the time we went on a Sunday night and the kitchen was out of EVERYTHING. We literally walked to the 7-11 a few doors up to buy ice cream and milk. No joke. The one server kindly made us milkshakes, but we very carefully checked the bill to ensure we weren’t fully charged, because that’s the sort of thing would totally happen back then. Now Fred’s has grown up a bit, but the essentials are the same. It’s become the kind of corner restaurant where the staff is polite and helpful, and they rush over a bin of crayons so kids can color in the adorable and funny placemats with the French fries wearing berets and and Humpty Dumpty getting shoved off a wall and such. A surprise plate of silver dollar pancakes might even show up at your table.
850 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Feliz
Hours: 24 hours, daily.