Trendy cafes abound in Los Angeles, as do restaurants that serve exotic fare from nations of the world. Gastronomes can indulge in four-star fancy meals and wild-side adventurers will find colorful street food galore. But if you are looking for a restaurant that is (or was) a signature of California, you need to find a true SoCal coffee shop. Not many are left. Du-Par’s is one of the best. Its personality reflects a time when the Golden State glowed with end-of-the-rainbow allure. Honest, square meals were part of the appeal.
There’s nothing outlandish or surprising on Du-Par’s menu. That’s the point. At breakfast, for example, how about pancakes? Du-Par’s are fairly thick but not heavy, sizzled on a slick grill so they develop fragile golden skin. They come with plenty of syrup, which is swell, plus — oh, what a plus! — a good-size pitcher of melted butter. They’re already buttery; pour on the extra butter, swirl in some syrup, and you’ll dine in paradise.
Du-Par’s always is open, and while breakfast is the must-eat meal, the menu is replete with such comfort food as savory pot pies, welsh rarebit, corned beef hash, turkey with all the trimmin’s, and meat loaf made with beef, pork and veal. Desserts include pecan, lemon, and coconut custard pie as well as several puddings.
These hale foodstuffs are served in spic-and-span surroundings by professional uniformed waitresses who never let a cup of coffee remain only half-full. The West Third Street Du-par’s has the added attraction of being at the Farmer’s Market, which is a good place to browse among fresh produce and schlock souvenirs and spot the celebrities who shop here pseudo-incognito.
There are two other Du-Par’s in southern California as well as one in Las Vegas. For details, visit the restaurant’s website.
Dupar’s is known for its delicious pies, so it naturally follows that they would have a kick-ass chicken pot pie. Really, its only competition in town is Musso and Frank’s, and I still think Dupar’s has them beat.
The thick, comforting gravy is not too bland, and not too salty. In fact, it’s just right. Huge chunks of chicken fill the pie, so there is none of that gypped feeling you always had growing up with frozen chicken pot pie. It is mostly white meat, but there is a little dark meat thrown in for depth.
The pie’s crowning glory is the light, flaky puff pastry. There are simply no words to describe it – it’s almost like a croissant with crispy edges. The pie is served with a spoon with which to break into the crust, and release the aromatic steam like a genie from the bottle.
Dupar’s renovations did not take away the cool retro vibe. The room is still open and inviting. On a cool night at the Farmer’s Market, the warm room was welcome relief and escape from the chill. Plus, they are open 24 hours. Who could ask for anything more?