The Golden State Café on Fairfax is smack dab in the heart of what J. Gold referred to as the "Dude District" in his Animal review. For those who aren't familiar with this exact location, it's historically L.A.'s second Borscht Belt (after Boyle Heights). Who would have thunk skater shops, galleries, and bakeries peddling braided challah and hamantaschen would stand side-by-side along Fairfax between Beverly and Melrose. Yet change-phobes, fret not: that strip still gently evokes the smells and grime of Essex Street as much as ever.
Gaggles of skater guys, along with their Bettys and some regular folk, can be seen eating food from the straight forward menu of locally sourced sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and beer/soda on tap at the Golden State, along with Scoops gelato. But it's unwittingly become something co-owners (and fellow alums of my high school) Jason and Jim didn't explicitly intend: a great kids' restaurant. It happens; just ask the management at Fred 62.
My Little Dude and I have started a fun ritual of going for lunch at G.S. after Plummer Park dates on Wednesdays when he's had a good workout and is ready to chow. The super casual spot with honestly exposed building materials (concrete, brick, steel) works perfectly for us. Walk up to the counter to order, then wait a few minutes for plates of Let's Be Frank dogs with hot delicious fries and romesco for dipping, and a lovely BLT for mom. Maybe with an order of tangy Persian cucumber salad, too. Meanwhile, we can people watch, or stare at ESPN playing on the flatscreen during the down times.
And next comes the main event: after pawing at the freezer case that teases, good behavior is rewarded with Scoops ice cream.
Apparently I'm not the only parent who's latched onto the Golden State's kid-appropriateness. Jason says on some weekend afternoons the cafe "looks like a day care." (And it's not even Swork!) But it's a fine balance between fun and chaotic, so selfishly, I hope Wednesdays remain relatively kid-light.