Kid Hit Menu Items: The hearty breakfast torta at Auntie Em’s Kitchen is more than enough food for one person, with the egg, black beans, avocado, and telera roll components conducive to picking apart ($9.25) and sharing since the whole sandwich is too bulky for small mouths. Good luck getting past the cupcakes, though. I lost the battle by mollifying a major tantrum and giving into the demand for the “big, not little!” lemon cupcake. The topping then proceeded to be reshaped into a near gravity-defying frosting mountain. (Thankfully my friend didn’t seem to judge me for it.) Most parents will successfully sell their kids on ordering an open-faced breakfast sandwich (9.95-$11.95) and honey orange French toast ($8.95), or comforting classics like meatloaf and tuna sandwiches.
Adult Perks: Auntie Em’s takes advantage of local produce and seasonal ingredients in a super low-key environment that Northeast L.A. families can relax in. Occasionally the restaurant keeps its doors open later than usual for its special Farmers Market Dinners, which feature changing menus based on what’s available and inspiring to owner/chef Terri Wahl. (Follow on Twitter for menu updates.) Auntie Em’s has been at the forefront of the changing scene in Eagle Rock over the past few years, at this point is almost the elder representative of its Next Gen. Wahl gave families who started migrating from Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and points southwest a new home to brunch during weekends. (As well as to those who have been there all along.) But note that this isn’t a place for gloss and glamour, or date night-type romance.
Pros: Tables are covered with practical and cute retro oilcloths, so spills are easy to clean up. Plastic plates take some of the pressure off. Plenty of outdoor tables dot the wide sidewalk. The space has seen it’s fair share of intense use, and nothing is terribly precious. But keep grubby curious hands out of the Marketplace retail area next door.
Cons: For those in need of a casual neighborhood hang with high-quality, fresh food in a setting with a little wear around the edges, not many.
Changing Station: No
High Chairs: Yes
Parking and Access: Easy metered street parking on Eagle Rock Boulevard.
Other Tidbits: If you went to Millie’s in Silver Lake throughout your twenties, chances are you started going to Auntie Em’s when you hit your thirties or forties and needed a place to eat breakfast with kids in a place with a simpatico neighborhood feel. Think of Em’s as Millie’s more welcoming, emotionally mature relative. She can flex her L.A. Eastside experiences and post-punk creds without needing surly personnel to keep it real. The new Auntie Em’s Marketplace makes it one-stop shopping if you’re in need of groovy goods to take home or gifts, including locally made foodstuffs, cheeses, and maybe even a new cute apron or an oven mitt. And a cupcake or two for the kids, ideally AFTER your brunch, lunch or early dinner.
4616 Eagle Rock Blvd., Eagle Rock
Cuisine: American/Market-Driven, Seasonal
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.