Top Five Friday: Nostalgic Cafe and Diners

1. Kitchen 24

Locations: West Hollywood and Hollywood

Combining the best of the new with a nod to the past.  Elevated American diner open 24/7 that is a refreshing surprise and departure from the greasy diner.
Food highlights: fresh quality with healthy options and huge menu selection.

Ambiance: pink stripes, straws, napkins and retro shake glasses.

My favorites: Garden frittata. The frittata is substantial and is oozing with perfectly cooked caramelized onions, basil, spinach, roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts. Accompanied by a fresh salad. The oatmeal with strawberries and bananas is also one of my favorites. This gluten free oatmeal is slow cooked and delicious with the fruit cut and arranged artistically.

Parking: WeHo Location (Free Parking – first 2 hours free with validation located inside the Ramada Hotel parking structure right next door)
Hollywood: (Free Parking – first hour free with validation. 6a-6p Everyday. Lot located corner of Selma & Ivar, behind Big Wangs)

Online Ordering: YES – available to be prepared as soon as possible or for later. There are delivery options.

Loyalty Program: YES – #k24life Signup on-line  to earn $2 for every $24 you spend on your next visit or save for later

Kitchen 24 Food
Kitchen 24 Facebook Photo

2. Hello Kitty Grand Cafe

Location: Irvine (Grand Cafe and Bow Room at Irvine Spectrum)

Pinkalicious & instagram inviting. Casual-Front of the House cafe- coffee drinks, smoothies and lemonade blends and some giftables like coffee mugs and t shirts. Sweet treats such as the mini doughnuts are baked on site and presented in a Hello Kitty paper cone. Some of the other treats are boxed for take out in a colorful box.

Bow Room – for celebrations with your gal pals located at the back of the Hello Kitty Grand Cafe. Afternoons: Full Tea service complete with tea sandwiches and sweet treats (all ages) Evenings: mocktails and cocktails (21 years + only)  Walk-ins are accepted on a first-come first-serve basis pending availability. Make reservations (cancellation fee applies for less than 24 hours) online. Reservations are not needed for just the cafe.

Parking: Irvine Location (Free Parking at the Irvine Spectrum)

My Favorites in the Cafe: Gluten Free macaroons, pink lemonade blend with soy milk.

Highlights: coffee lattes with hello kitty and bow designs. The Bow Room is a favorite among millennials.

Other Hello Kitty experiences:  San Diego (Pop-Up Container at Fashion Valley, is not a cafe and does not have a bow room)

Hello Kitty Grand Cafe
Hello Kitty Grand Cafe // Jakob N. Layman

3. Mel's Drive-In

Locations: Santa Monica, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Sherman Oaks (original southern CA location)
Other California Locations: South and North

LA Historic film sight. Movie-American graffiti. Authentic jute boxes at tables. Kitzy ambiance. Food is classic fare such as burgers and fries with healthy options like a vegan burger and numerous salads with charbroiled chicken. Popular place for instagrams and late night dining.

The menu you receive at the restaurant has items labeled VG = Vegan, V = Vegetarian, GF = Gluten Free and GFP = Gluten Free Possible. Some items labeled gluten free include side choices like Mel’s American Fries, Twisty Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Sauteed Fresh Vegetables, Quinoa Salad.

Parking: Santa Monica Location (Free Parking Lot attached to Restaurant),  Hollywood Location (Paid Parking Lot Right Next Door- $2.50 first hour with Mel’s Validation), West Hollywood Location (Free Parking Lot attached to Restaurant), Sherman Oaks (Free Parking Lot attached to Restaurant)

Order Online: Mel’s Drive In works with ChowNow (Santa Monica) to order food for now or later for pickup, and GrubHub for work (other locations) for delivery locally.

Mel's Drive In Sherman Oaks
Mel's Drive In Sherman Oaks Facebook Photo

4. Bob's Big Boy

Location: Burbank near Warner Brothers Studio (Historical Landmark)
This 60 years old location is the oldest Big Boy in the United States.
Free Parking in Parking Lot Behind Restaurant

Drive-through is still in operation and every Friday there is a classic car show from 4-10 pm. Sit inside at the Beatles booth who dined there in 1964 and experience some nostalgic history along with Bobs Big Boy famous double decker hamburgers and milk shakes which they are known for. The original Bobs Big Boy statue stands outside to greet you.

Online Ordering: Bob’s Big Boy does not deliver but works with 3rd party services like Postmates or  DoorDash for nearby locations.

E-mail Club: Signup

Other BigBoy Location in so CA: Downey (Free Parking Lost Attached to Restaurant)
See Other Locations Here

Please note that the menu is not currently clearly labeled for gluten free or vegan options. You would need to ask your server specifically to help you decide.

Bob's Big Boy
Bob's Big Boy Website Photo

5. Ruby's

Locations: Various Locations in so CA

Balboa Pier (original Ruby’s Diner, opened December 7, 1982)
1 Balboa Pier Balboa, CA 92661 (located at the end of the pier)

Ambiance: 1940’s style fun nostalgic diner. Counter, booth and table seating.

Highlights: Milk Shakes of the month. April- Cherry Jubilee: Creamy vanilla mixed with cherry, topped of course with a swirling mound of whipped creme and a cherry on top.

Shooby Doo on by before it disappears. Ruby’s is also a restaurant that gives back to children through their Ruby Dooby Foundation and support of Children’s hospital of Orange County. Enjoy breakfast (usually served until 11:30am), lunch and dinner at Ruby’s.

Online Ordering: DoorDash

EClub: Signup

Ruby's Diner Balboa Pier
Ruby's Diner Balboa Pier // Photo: California Beaches

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