York Boulevard in Highland Park was recently named “LA’s Coolest Street” by Condé Nast Traveler, and Condé Nast Traveler seems pretty trustworthy, right?, so this massive honor of a title naturally sparked my curiosity to find out how, why, and what the fuss was all about. I’d never heard of “York Boulevard” pre LA Mag/ Condé Nast Traveler, sad I know, but I had heard of Donut Friend and The York that happen to be located on York Boulevard. So once I started piecing things together and discovering more places on York I wanted to experience, I planned a day adventure over to Highland Park to check out the new LA hot spot with my brunch buddy.
In my humble opinion breakfast/brunch/lunch is the best time to go to York Boulevard. First of all, there’s not just one but three reputable breakfast/lunch restaurants all within walking distance of each other, those being Ba, The York, and Highland Cafe. There are also great places to grab coffee, namely Elsa’s Bakery where I was told by a new local friend to order their infamous badass Mexican take on a Mocha, the “Frida”, or if you’re looking for a hip boutique-y coffee joint Cafe De Leche is your spot. Lastly, York is great for a day adventure simply because there’s Donut Friend.
We chose to start our day on York Street with donuts at Donut Friend, obviously, and good God is that place fun. They can do so many things with a donut it will make your head spin. You want cereal on that? What about ice cream. Nutella? Bacon? Sure, whatever you want! We were a bit overwhelmed with all the donut concoctions we figured we’d stick to the stuff we knew: chocolate sprinkle donuts, a cronut they so cleverly named the “Cro-Magnut” for all the old school punks out there, and donut holes with maple glaze to dip them in. No need to explain how delicious they were, I’m sure you can only imagine, but visit their Instagram if you need proof. After we covered dessert, we decided it was time for brunch. I have to say it was a difficult decision choosing between Ba, The York and Highland Cafe but we decidedly went with The York because it’d been suggested to me by a few friends with excellent taste in food and beverage. We sat at the bar, right next to Terry from True Blood, true story, and ordered mimosas and the (holy crap, so delicious) Good Morning Burger, because really, what better way to wash down a donut than with a cocktail and a burger?
York Boulevard is definitely on its way to becoming a very popular place to hang out in Los Angeles but admittedly it’s still in its awkward phase of life. If you’re expecting a quaint and cozy street with people walking their dogs and trees wrapped with little white lights York is not quite that… yet. They have all the tools and essentials including cute cafes, a record store, thrift shops, home decor boutiques, and people with mustaches walking around, but amidst all that are still old school stores that sell God only knows what, auto body shops, fast food joints, and other questionable aspects you’ll have to see to understand. But with the good, the bad, and the strange in mind I can absolutely understand the potential Condé Nast, LA Mag, and Angelenos see in this up and coming part of town; right now there’s plenty of places to park (for free), the restaurants don’t have waits, and most importantly York Boulevard is quite charming in all it’s hip Silver Lake spillage, gentrified glory.
Elsa’s Bakery: they offer delicious Mexican baked goods, cheap, like real OG Mexican cookies for like 30 cents a piece, and they do breakfast too!
Sonny’s Hideaway: Awesome place to go for a cocktail
El Huarache Azteca: THE place to go for tacos on York. Don’t be fooled by its hole in the wall exterior, this place is legendary.
Scoops: one of LA’s favorite artisanal ice cream shops has a location on York!