Joe's Café Gem Among Chains - Granada Hills, CA
I keep a mental list of restaurants that I tell myself I will visit but somehow never make the time to. Joe's Café was on the top on that list. I had heard good things about this cozy spot offering homemade fresh food that is increasingly growing in popularity among the locals - especially after co-owner Joe Wetherbee's appearance on Food Network's Chopped. He won the "Dread and Breakfast" episode, which aired on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. I finally stopped in for a bite early one Saturday morning with my sister and infant son to see it for myself.
Joe's Café is located in Granada Hills, California, a suburban area in the San Fernando Valley, less than 30 miles from Downtown Los Angeles. This town is close to Downtown Los Angeles which is quickly becoming a foodie's paradise. While the Mid San Fernando Valley is dominated by chain restaurants and fast food-type dining, Joe's Café satisfies this city's appetite for individual, high quality, gourmet food with soul.
Joe's Café sits on a shopping strip made up of a combination of mom and pop shops, casual restaurants and large shopping chains nearby. Palm trees and parked cars line this strip quintessential with Los Angeles scenery. On Friday evenings, food trucks line up in this very strip, offering an array of gourmet foods from the wide selection a city like this has to offer. The setting contributes to Joe's Cafe's charm, which stands out with its quirky sign (a whisk) and offers outside dining which is rare in Mid San Fernando Valley. The restaurant itself was actually very small. I noticed a construction site nearby an wondering if Joe's Café was expanding. After researching on their website, I confirmed my assumption as they announced a larger location in the same surrounding area.
I arrived at Joe's Café with my infant son at 8:00am, attempting to avoid a crowd; however, we still waited about 10 minutes to be seated. The hostess was friendly and she shared her experience of having a young child herself. My sister met us shortly after and we sat outside. The restaurant is self-order type dining, where the food is ordered inside and brought to your table. Coffee is also self-serve. The vibe is casual, modern, and stylish. A large chalkboard with menu items is displayed above the self-order register inside. Other guests at the café ranged in age and ethnicity - young families, senior citizens, Latinos, Asians, and Caucasians, which is a good reflection of the city itself.
"Good Food Done Good"
I would describe the food as New American. Joe's Café describes themselves as "food done good", "all local and all fresh", and I would have to agree! They offer classic food with a twist of sophistication and high quality ingredients.
There is about 15 breakfast items to choose from. Their menu offers an array of staple breakfast items such as French toast, breakfast sandwich, parfaits, short stack of pancakes, waffles, omelets, eggs & pork and others, all priced between $5.99 and $13.99. They also serve lunch and recently began serving dinner at their new larger location.
Complimentary home-made jam and bread was brought to the table. The strawberry and basil jam was a delightfully refreshing option. I ordered "The Cure", a savory breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg, smoked gouda, avocado sauce all in a toasted pretzel bun, served a la carte with a few wedges of orange. The sandwich had a tang from the cheese and the pretzel bun was delightful to bite into, soft and fresh. It was delicious! However, I do need to be honest and say that $8.99 for an a la carte mid-sized sandwich seemed a bit steep for its size, even for Los Angeles. Throw in some potatoes and maybe this girl's appetite could be satisfied. What can I say, I am a girl who likes to eat.
Although the sandwich was delicious, I would love to try something different next time. I'll probably go with something sweet rather than savory like my sister who had the stuffed French toast, which was my second choice. The French toasts were stuffed with cream and berries, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Perfectly sweet, it did not require the syrup that accompanied it. The french toast portion was large, which seemed appropriately priced at $13.99. Overall, great food and something worth trying. I will definitely be paying Joe's Café a second visit soon at their new larger location.
Joe's Café is a gem among chain restaurants in my neighborhood. I welcome this restaurant's thoughtfulness with the ingredients used, homemade touch, emphasis on freshness and stylish modern ambience. They have raised the bar of quality food in Mid San Fernando Valley. I'm excited to see their growth with a recent larger location and hopeful to see other local spots follow in their foot steps. Definitely worth a try if you're in the area!