The expansive, eco-friendly space known as Fairplex hosts a bounty of events throughout the year. Most famous of these is surely the LA County Fair, a four-week affair filled with live entertainment, animal attractions, and fun competitions. But multiple other exciting events call the venue home as well, from car shows to art openings to adult-only events such as the LA on Tap Beer Festival.
But what visitors to the event might not know is that virtually every moment of merriment at Fairplex directly contributes to the wellbeing of their community. That's thanks to The Learning Centers at Fairplex, which strives to serve unmet educational needs through multifaceted programs for children and adults. Its Child Development Center provides specially designed educational programs to children regardless of income or background, while the FairKids Field Trip Program grants local classrooms with hands-on learning opportunities that might not be available otherwise due to school funding cutbacks. As children get older, opportunities such as the Junior Fair Board Leadership Program help them hone business and networking skills and provides college scholarship money, and the Career and Technical Education Center helps prepare students for real-world careers. The Millard Sheets Art Center engages both children and adults with opportunities to witness and create art through exhibitions, educational programs, and workshops.
Everyone loved visiting the Macias household. Antonio and Sara’s hospitality was matched only by their elaborate Mexican dinners. After years of wildly successful dinners and parties, the duo decided to spread the good word and start their own restaurant. In 1974, they opened the first Mi Ranchito in Ontario, California, packing the tiny space with six tables and stocking the kitchen with fresh produce, meat, and seafood.
Decades later, and Antonio and Sara’s small eatery has replicated itself into three locations across California. Their children and grandchildren join them in the kitchens, where they fold fresh ingredients and handcrafted sauces into traditional enchiladas, chili rellenos, and carnitas. Meanwhile, bartenders blend top tequilas into a variety of innovative margaritas and specialty drinks. In the dining rooms, hand-painted murals of tropical birds, colorful Mexican artwork, and the party-hat wearing condors who serve the food create a festive atmosphere. The restaurant's uncompromisingly fresh and delicious cooking, innovative drinks, and welcoming environment have been lauded by a slew of press publications and won the restaurant the award for Best Mexican Food from Inland Empire Magazine.
Established in 1962, this quaint, '50's-style diner still doesn't take checks or credit cards, but a time-tested menu of buttermilk pancakes, gooey tuna melts, and piping-hot coffee draws a steady stream of devoted patrons. "It's very homey, very comfortable," says one regular. "It's like the Cheers of diners," says another. The long-lasting success story of Roberta's Village Inn—where chefs whip up from-scratch desserts daily—almost went unwritten. As Inland Valley Daily Bulletin writer David Allen notes, Roberta Virgin, the restaurant's namesake, was on the verge of throwing in the towel after her first day of waitressing in 1977. But her mother, a fellow waitress there, convinced her to stay, launching Roberta's 32-year career and ascension to the ranks of manager, owner, and finally Omelet Queen. Though Roberta transferred the reins to her longtime chef Francisco "Pancho" Ramirez, with whom she shares a "mother-son bond," her name remains on the forest-green awning. Francisco preserved the restaurant's moniker in tribute to his old boss, also leaving untouched the recipe for the famous pot roast she used to serve every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening.
For fresh maki, La Verne's Shogun Restaurant has got you covered.
Going gluten-free? Dig a low-fat diet? Shogun Restaurant has you covered on both fronts.
Find the perfect vintage to complement your meal — this restaurant offers a fine selection of wines, beers, and beyond.
Parents appreciate this restaurant's kid-friendly attitude, and little ones are often seen dining out with the adults.
The restaurant's noise level can be somewhat straining on the vocal cords, so intimate get-togethers may be best enjoyed elsewhere.
It doesn't get much more laid-back than Shogun Restaurant, so dress for comfort when you come.
If you're hoping to make a smashing impression at your next soiree, you can also have Shogun Restaurant cater for you.
No delivery needed. In and out for carryout.
At Shogun Restaurant, diners will receive complimentary parking at the lot next door.
Shogun Restaurant's diners can store their bikes safely at the rack around the corner.
Shogun Restaurant may cost you a little bit more than some spots, but this deliciousness is fairly-priced (and well worth the few extra bucks).
Experience authentic Japanese cuisine with a meal at Shogun Restaurant.
What time is it? Time to grab one of American's favorite dishes at Chili's.
Whether rocking a gluten-free lifestyle or looking for something low-fat, this place will serve you just what you need.
Unwind with a glass of wine or cocktail with your meal — this restaurant has a wonderful selection of drinks to accompany your dinner.
Take the kids along too — this restaurant is a great spot for families with food that even little ones will love.
Gather up your friends, coworkers or family members and head to Chili's for a group meal.
Leave the fancy duds at home — patrons at the restaurant dress informally.
Enjoy mind-blowing dishes in the peace and quiet of your own home with delivery or takeout from Chili's.
This dining establishment is located near hassle-free parking options.
You'll also find plenty of safe spaces to lock up your bike if you prefer to cycle to the restaurant.
Prices are reasonable, with a typical meal running under $30.
The best American dishes are cooked up by the great crew at Chili's, and they're waiting to serve you!
So enjoy a casual dining experience at Chili's and load up on some classic American dishes.
Stop by Cafe X2O, La Verne in La Verne for flavorful fare and refreshments.
With this restaurant's wide selection of refreshments available, you can tap into the drink menu early in the evening.
Having trouble finding that family-friendly restaurant everyone will love? This restaurant serves all ages, so little ones are welcome to come along, too.
Patio tables and chairs are ready for Cafe X2O, La Verne diners who prefer their meals al fresco.
Up for grabs (and free of charge) is Cafe X2O, La Verne's wifi.
Be sure to call for a reservation if the restaurant is part of your weekend plans — it can get crowded on Fridays and Saturdays.
Good luck spotting a suit and tie at Cafe X2O, La Verne — casually-dressed diners are the norm here.
Leaving the couch is half the battle. Your foods awaits your pickup at this restaurant.
If parking is a concern, you'll be happy to hear that there are many convenient options in the area.
If your preferred mode of transit is of the two wheel variety, you're in luck — there's tons of bike parking outside the restaurant.
An average meal at Cafe X2O, La Verne will set you back about $30.
Ordering a Dodger Dog is a ritual. Customers queue up in one of two lines—one for grilled dogs and the other for classic steamed. They inch ever closer to the counter where stadium workers dole out foot-long franks that stretch far beyond the confines of steamed buns. Finally they head over to the condiment stations to load up on mustard, ketchup, chopped onions, or relish.
Dodger stadium’s divide-and-conquer approach is the product of years of experience. Many estimate that the millions of Dodger Dogs sold each baseball season outrank sales of any other frank in the league. But once foodies have had their fill of the gargantuan Dodger dogs at the stadium, or even purchased at local markets, they’ve only just begun exploring the diverse hot-dog scene in Los Angeles.
Take the Korean-style franks of Seoul Sausage Co.. They’re a bit harder to track down than a ballpark frank. Without a food truck or retail space to call home, these succulent, grilled delicacies crop up at street fairs and catered events all over LA, where their inventive cooks offer up a kalbi-flavored sausage topped with tangy kimchi relish, and a spicy pork sausage crowned with apple-cabbage slaw.
For a taste of the increasingly hard to find LA street dog, enthusiasts can hunt them down at Skooby’s, where decadently bacon-wrapped franks nestle into fresh buns delivered by a local bakery.
Perhaps the crowning glory of LA’s hot-dog inner circle is the chilidog, which local favorite The Hat has been slinging since 1951. Pink’s, on La Brea and Melrose since 1939, is now practically a regular set piece on TV shows and movies set in LA for its addictive dogs and cheerful, familiar sign. Their ode to the chilidog is a love letter to its loyal patrons written with all-beef franks slathered in chili, mustard, and onions.
Elsewhere in the city, more progressive—even avant-garde—culinary sensibilities shape the future of the humble hot dog. At Let’s Be Frank, nitrate- and hormone-free dogs are made fresh from grass-fed beef and layered with toppings and veggies sourced from local farms. At The Stand, diners can customize their low-fat turkey dogs or chicken-apple sausage with quintessentially Californian toppings including avocado and corn salsa. At Vicious Dogs, the whimsical 8-bit-inspired art of cook Stacey Hughes colors the walls. The eatery’s Thanksgiving turkey dogs arrive smothered in all the trimmings—stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Adventurous patrons can even go off the menu and try their hand at topping Stacey by building their own creations, including Latin-inspired, deep-fried doggie flautas.
If the film industry resides in Hollywood, the greater city of Los Angeles is its backyard. Filmmakers have taken to exploring this backyard in their movies, and local residents have come to accept that a routine trip to the deli can quickly turn into a cameo in the latest blockbuster. Though tourists have taken to camping outside celebrities’ homes for a glimpse of fame, there’s a less invasive—and far tastier—method of stargazing. Here, we follow the cameras to seven restaurants made famous by their appearances in film.
If you’re flying in to LAX, your first stop should be Randy’s Donuts on West Manchester Avenue. No, Randy’s was not named after Randy Newman. It was, however, briefly featured in the music video for the singer’s 1983 paean to his native city, “I Love L.A.”. When the giant donut that sits atop the shop isn’t appearing in action films such as 2012 and Iron Man 2, it acts as a beacon, enticing pilots to visit during long layovers at the nearby airport.
Next, take a drive over to Canter’s Deli in the Fairfax District. Though countless celebrities have feasted on Canter’s pastrami sandwiches since 1931, Walter Matthau bears the rare distinction of doing so on camera in Neil Simon’s I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982). Current owner Marc Canter recently penned a book about Guns N’ Roses, whose frequent visits to his deli evince the band’s appetites for things other than destruction.
If pastrami and hair metal don’t satisfy your taste for decadence, head to the lavishly appointed Cicada Restaurant downtown. In a memorable scene from Pretty Woman (1990), Julia Roberts flings a snail across the restaurant’s art deco-inspired dining room. Her costar, Richard Gere, would return to the restaurant just a few years later in Final Analysis (1992). Perhaps he was drawn back by the mallechort elevator doors or gold-leafed ceiling—traces left over from the restaurant’s former life as a 1920s haberdashery.
Cicada’s transformation seems minor compared to that of J & J Sandwich Shop. The 6th Street delicatessen was stripped of its walk-up sandwich counter and injected with a dose of 1950s noir for L.A. Confidential (1997). Recast as the Nite Owl Coffee Shop, J & J became the scene of a multiple homicide and ground zero for the movie’s pulpy action.
Hop on the 101 freeway and exit at Franklin for a post-lunch coffee or milkshake at the appropriately named 101 Coffee Shop. Restaurateur Warner Ebbink carefully designed the shop’s interior—complete with swiveling counter chairs and plush leather booths—to mimic the funky diners of the 1960s. According to the New York Times, Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn frequented the diner back when it was called the Hollywood Hills Coffee Shop. They repaid the hospitality by immortalizing the shop in their hit comedy Swingers (1996).
Get back on the 101 and take it out to the San Fernando Valley for the last stop of our tour, which brings us to a nondescript strip mall in Granada Hills. This is the site of Vincenzo’s Pizza, which the filmmakers behind the neo-noir Drive converted into Ron Perlman’s latest criminal lair. Though one of the film’s most violent scenes takes place inside the renamed Nino’s Pizzeria, it’s worth risking your life for a slice of Vincenzo’s New York–style pepperoni.