Angelenos are very familiar with traffic. It is as synonymous with the city as beautiful, sunny days. Unlike agreeable, warm weather, the standstill nature of traversing Southern California’s highways can weigh heavy on anyone’s spirit. Los Angeles’s Metro is slowly, but surely, making progress in an effort to reduce pollution, overcrowded streets and headaches, of course. If you have yet to explore public transit, here is a list of must-visit eateries that are conveniently located next to major Metro subway stops. With trains and the Orange Line busway now running till 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, the Metro is the perfect late-night transportation option. For maps, schedules and ticket prices, refer to LA Metro for more information.
130 West Bruno Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Homegirl Cafe is under the Homeboy Industries non-profit umbrella. The organization provides rehabilitative services to ex-gang members, such as work training, mental health and legal advisement, educational classes and employment. Homegirl Cafe is one of the food enterprises within the Homeboy family. Local produce from Homebody’s urban gardens, freshly-made baked goods and Latin-inspired dishes comprise the menu’s offerings. The restaurant also provides catering for special events. Take a trip on the Metro Gold Line to the Chinatown station, and after a short walk, you’ll find Homegirl straight ahead.
The Federal Bar
5303 Lankershim Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601
The same guys behind the Knitting Factory are the masterminds behind one of the Valley’s newest hot spots, The Federal Bar. The Federal is a gastropub, nightclub and special event space for private occasions in a renovated brick building that once housed a local bank. Pick and choose from pages of unique, house-made items for lunch, dinner or brunch. Check out the daily happy hour deals on select dishes and beer from 3 to 6 p.m. as well. The restaurant recently launched its monthly Flight Night event when, on the first Monday of each month, they offer specials on selected beer flights and bottles. Both the Red and Orange lines will drop you off just a block away from The Federal. Save the Metro ticket, and flash it proudly for a 20 percent discount on food.
800 North Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Chef Tara Thomas’ restaurant cannot be more conveniently located. It has been inside Union Station for 15 years. With produce provided by Grove on Grand in Fillmore, seasonal items appear on the menu for lunch or dinner. Dine on the outdoor courtyard on a pleasant day, or snag a seat on the main concourse to people watch travelers as they make their way in and out of the station. If a cocktail is all you desire, take in the ambiance of Union Station’s original telephone room while sipping a specialty creation from Traxx’s bar menu. Union Station is one of the busiest Metro stops, so it can be reached via the Red, Purple, Orange or Silver lines.
8800 Venice Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
Helms Bakery was, years ago, a full-service bakery, pulling goods out of ovens for nearby residents to purchase. The building is now better known as a showroom for a large furniture manufacturer, but the complex houses businesses and restaurants as well. The renowned gastropub and burger bar, Father’s Office, and a new kid on the block with Southeast Asian cuisine, Lukshon, both reside on the Bakery’s grounds. Located just a few blocks from the Culver City stop on the new Expo Line, all of the Helms Bakery’s restaurants are now easily reached via rail.
3630 Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90016
The Metro system’s newest addition, the Expo Line, may be the most diverse in terms of the different neighborhoods it touches. The Crenshaw District can be reached from Downtown or Culver City, and that is good news for Earlez Grille fans. The family-owned restaurant began as a hot dog cart and has since expanded into an eatery serving those famous dogs along with burgers, tamales, chili, Jamaican patties, in addition to several vegetarian and vegan-friendly items. Step off the Crenshaw Station and into Earlez Grille for a casual meal that will not break the bank.
Chrystal Baker is a freelance food, events, culture travel contributor for CBS Los Angeles, Basil Magazine, Frugivore Magazine and Politic365. She is the co-editor of a recipe blog, The Duo Dishes, and manages her own lifestyle and travel blog, Any and Everywhere, as well as the Farm 2 Plate Culinary Club site.