Former owner and current namesake Joe Filkosky is responsible for many of the hearty breakfast platters still on the menu at Eat at Joe's. But it's John Wayne who gets the credit of one of the most famous. When the icon sidled in one day and asked Joe to cook him a special breakfast, the meal quickly landed on the regular menu—a belly-warming combination of two eggs over-medium with cheese, home fries, and a tortilla, all slathered with Spanish sauce and sausage.
Clientele aside, the interior of Eat at Joe's has barely changed a bit since it was founded. Much of the menu comes packaged in red plastic baskets, and the simple white tables are still laden with home-cooking classics such as burgers, chicken-fried steak, meatloaf, and roast turkey with stuffing. In the morning, diners start the day with hearty omelets and fresh-squeezed, decaffeinated orange juice.
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.