At the gateway to the Hollywood Dell is a sign that advertises “The Last Cappuccino Before the 101.”
This is the 101 Coffee Shop and the sign is a sly reference to the golden age of auto travel , Sunset Magazine and the roadside attraction.
Back when Route 66 was actually a thing and Americans couldn’t pronounce espresso, Los Angeles was brimming with coffee shops. The food was fairly predictable and mostly interchangeable. What set the restaurants apart was the novelty designs of the buildings themselves. Meaningless arches, nautical themes and goofy typography is what established the brands back then. The style became a trademark LA look known as googie architecture.
In 2001, restaurant impresario Warner Ebbink resurrected this bit of Americana with his restoration of the 101 Coffee Shop. Drawing inspiration from coffee shop legends Ships, Norm’s and Tiny Naylor’s, Ebbink found his ideal location on the ground floor of the Best Western Hollywood Hills Hotel, itself an American classic.
The diner was an immediate hit and Ebbink went on to bring his golden touch to West Hollywood stalwart Dominick’s and Los Feliz’ Little Dom’s.
The 101 Coffee Shop fills a much needed LA niche. It’s a late night joint in a town that pretty much rolls up after 10:00pm.
No matter what your generation, the interior decor soothes and comforts. Stacked flagstone walls, mirrors above the counters and round globe lights hanging from the ceiling create an atmosphere that just wants to cozy up with your cappuccino before hitting the road.
Along the walls hang faded thrift store polaroids as a wink to the Instagram crowd.
Not only that, but you’ll find naugahyde booths that won’t stick to your butt and a jukebox called the “Cosmic Blast.”
It’s the perfect Brady Bunch experience except that your server is likely to sport sleeve tattoos and a man bun.
All well and good you say, but what about the food?
Any diner worth its salt has to be more than just a pretty face. It has to deliver good solid food at a good solid price.
And 101 Coffee Shop does just that. The Betty Crocker menu is updated for the modern palate. Of course, you’ll find standbys like meatloaf and mac & cheese. Chef Brandon adds a little New Orleans kick to the mix with such as cajun catfish and po boy sandwiches.
Recently, Ebbink added the genteel MiniBar lounge right next door. Same retro-chic with leather and whiskey. Zagat included MiniBar as one of the “10 Hottest Bars of 2015.”
6145 Franklin Avenue
101 Coffee Shop