I’ve lived in DTLA for years, and I’ve driven past Nick’s Cafe on North Spring Street dozens of times, but I have never eaten there. I guess it’s because Nick’s is on the very north end of DTLA, so it has always been a bit out of the way. The other day we hoofed it up to the new Los Angeles State Historic Park and then popped in Nick’s for lunch. I’m so glad we did. The place is a true DTLA landmark. It dates back to 1948 and referred to as the “Ham House,” that’s why you see the pig pig statue in front of the place.
Nick’s Cafe is a smaller, more intimate version of The Pantry. This a classic American diner with a horseshoe shaped counter inside that seats about 18 people, so if you don’t want to sit outside in the patio area, you might have a bit of a wait, but it’s worth it. The service is friendly. The atmosphere is relaxed. And most important, the food is good.
I ordered the Mushroom Burger ($10.50). It’s 1/3 lb. seasoned hand-packed top sirloin beef patty topped with grilled mushrooms, grilled onions, Jack cheese, tomato, pickles, lettuce and mayo, served with a side of coleslaw and a pickle spear. My friend went for something called Chili Size ($10.95). It was a beef patty topped with cheese, onions and tomato served open faced on grilled sourdough and then covered in Nick’s famous chili.
My husband could not decide between the SoCal Burrito ($7.95) filled with chorizo, eggs, cheese veggies, or blueberry pancakes. He ended up getting them both. The Mini Stack of three pancakes ($6.50) was perfect for sharing.
Nick’s Cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch. Oh, and it’s CASH only. It closes promptly at 3pm. Next time we eat there, we are getting the Eggs Benedict. The people sitting next to us ordered it, and it looked amazing. Plan a walk up to the Los Angeles State Historic Park. You will work up an appetite, so head across the street to Nick’s Cafe. It’s worth the trip.
NICK’S CAFE 1300 No. Spring Street 323.222.1450 nickscafela.com