The large, red sign outside Jack's Whittier Restaurant looks like something out of the '60s or '70s. In reality, the eatery's roots formed much earlier; signs throughout the recently remodeled interior remind visitors that the it has in fact been in business since 1933. The throwback coffee shop and diner serves a medley of classic American food throughout the day, including burgers, fried chicken, and breakfast dishes such as three-egg omelets and buttermilk pancakes. To cap off the sense of Americana, servers also man an ice cream parlor where they scoop out frozen treats to make milkshakes, sundaes, and banana splits for dessert.
Nick's Cafe plated its first ham and eggs in 1948—a fact that isn't surprising when one considers the restaurant's vintage elements, such as a bar-style service counter and tented outdoor patio. A throwback that retains strong connections to LA's diner heyday, Nick's continues to do things the old-fashioned way. That's not to say the menu hasn't evolved. Chef Luis Flores draws on local influences to complement the traditional burgers, hot dogs, and omelets with Mexican staples such as breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros, and sombreros filled with steamy coffee.
Attentive waiters keep Cha Cha Cha’s colorful tablecloths stocked with contemporary Caribbean small plates, heaping dishes of paella, and pitchers of brandy-infused sangria concocted under the supervision of expert chef Toribio Prado. Open for more than 25 years, the original location's brightly colored façade crowned by corrugated tin leads into a heated patio area lit by strings of chili-shaped lights and swarms of fireflies trained in flamenco dance. There diners can tuck into Cha Cha Cha’s lauded Jamaican jerk chicken or sip freshly muddled mojitos amid the quiet murmur of overhead fans.
The French Quarter Restaurant has played host to an ample and eclectic variety of edibles during breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 35 years. Early eaters can peruse a morning menu of drinkable delights from bubbly mimosas ($6.95) to Apffels coffee ($2.50) before chowing on the layered flavors of the huevos rancheros ($10.50). The chicken-fried steak ($9.95) keeps an egg sidekick close by to fight off ravenous hunger and its arch-nemesis—beef-fried chicken. Bisect the day with bites from the extensive lunch menu, or skip straight to dinner for braised pot roast ($14.95) or four-cheese rainbow ravioli ($15.95). The French Quartet Restaurant also offers a bevy of drinks and desserts to sate arid palates and quiet spoiled sweet teeth.
Since its founding in 1968, Duke's West Hollywood, located in the heart of the historic Sunset Strip, has dished classic American fare to hungry locals and scores of musicians such as Jim Morrison, Tom Waits, and Janis Joplin. Relocated and redecorated, Duke's now augments its menu with vegetarian and vegan options and seats diners atop navy-and-white-striped booths in a clean, bright space. Duos can begin meals with a plate of sliders topped with blue-cheese crumbles and caramelized onions. Hearty main dishes include meatloaf spiced with spanish sauce, and a pork chop glazed with barbecue sauce and the eighth minute of "Free Bird." The Asian-inspired tofu sauté heaps rice with red peppers, broccoli, and carrots in a signature sauce. Chefs stack traditional sandwiches with healthy ingredients, such as the turkey wrap boosted with avocado, arugula, and a whole-wheat tortilla cut in the shape of a pedometer. Night owl chefs serve until midnight Sunday–Wednesday, and until 4 a.m. Thursday–Saturday.