With its rollicking roster of sweet and savory crêpes, espresso, and creamy gelato, the recently opened Mod's Coffee & Crepes injects a much-needed shot of continental pancakery into downtown's throbbing lunch vein. Mod's crêpes are made to order, allowing diners to watch the thin batter metamorphosing into a delectably light meal-casing before it migrates southward down their esophagi. Though Mod's delights sweet teeth with classic crêperie concoctions of Nutella and banana ($4.50) or chocolate-covered strawberries and cream ($4.50), savory crêpes provide a hearty lunch in a light, airy wrapper. The club crêpe (ham, turkey bacon, brown mustard, tomatoes, mozzarella, $6.50) channels classic noontime fare, and the spicy turkey and cranberry crêpe ($6) recaptures the tryptophan-laden harvest feasts of youth. In addition to crêpes, Mod's also serves scintillating salads and soups, such as tomato basil and creamy mushroom brie (cup $3.50, bowl $6).
The first IHOP?the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin?opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001. Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.
Open from 5:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Paradise Donuts serves sugary donuts, pastries, and cinnamon buns to give patrons a sweet start to their day. The donuts come with sprinkles, chocolate glaze, or creamy centers to fulfill cravings of every type. For a more savory treat, chomp down on a sausage roll paired with a mug of steaming coffee.
D'Novo Lean Gourmet's chef Drew Flatt has managed to conjure a seasonally inspired menu of healthy, gourmet lunches and dinners without ever once tipping the 500-calorie scale. Stay in kangaroo prize-fighting form with a tasty salad such as the coconut-marinated chicken drizzled with an orange-basil vinaigrette atop a bed of crisp greens, macadamia nuts, mango, and red peppers ($10.95), or warm up chilly chitlins with a bowl of the black-bean soup, topped with Oaxaca cheese and cumin sour cream ($4.95). Dieting coworkers can keep grumbling bellies from breaking out into embarrassingly loud, profane tirades with hot and cold sandwiches and wraps, including the open-faced grilled bison burger ($10.95), the turkey taco burrito ($8.95), and the southwest chicken wrap ($8.95). As you luxuriate in D'Novo's chic white leather booths and crystalline chandeliers, indulge in a slice of lemon pound cake ($4.95) or two chocolate flourless cake ($4.95)—both of which sweetly prove that one can stay healthy without having to subsist entirely on stale rice cakes and still-life paintings of fruit bowls.
Chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck spent decades establishing himself as a household name, traveling around the world from his native Austria and winning everything from the James Beard Foundation's Award for Outstanding Chef to an Emmy for his self-titled TV series. Today, he oversees a culinary empire that stretches from Los Angeles to New York and embraces the rigorous demands of classical dining as well as casual elements of the bistro. Yet even with this diverse focus, each of Wolfgang Puck's eateries demonstrates a singular commitment to the chef's overarching culinary philosophy: supporting local farmers and using sustainably caught seafood, humanely raised animals, seasonal produce, and organic ingredients.
This philosophy steers the chefs at Wolfgang Puck Bistro, who refine interpretations of familiar American and international comfort foods. Barbecued rotisserie chicken and meatloaf feature elevated touches such as bacon and port-wine sauce, but stay faithful to their home-style flavors. Pizzas, meanwhile, cook to a golden-brown inside a wood-burning stone oven, and hand-cut rib-eye steaks wear a sauce of red wine and shallots.
The dining room's exposed ductwork and front wall of windows add a slightly modern flair to the bistro's ambiance, but the wood and earth tones keep the setting warm and inviting. In addition to the booths and tables scattered beneath track lighting and dangling pendant lamps, an outdoor patio lets diners enjoy their meals al fresco, which is French for blindfolded.