daisy, bo and luke duke had the boar’s nest. norm, cliff and fraiser had cheers. jack, janet and chrissy had the regal beagle…and now with the recent opening of the escondite, i too have a local.
when i first moved downtown almost 5 years ago, i went to see the derby dolls when they were at 3rd and alameda, and on the way back my friends and i stopped into the 410 boyd for some food afterward. as i remember it, the food was pretty decent, but the lighting was fluorescent and horrible, and the art on the wall was god awful. i never went back. being that it was only a block away, i have always wanted it to become some place that i would like to hang out and have a drink, or get some late night food. i have been asked many times ‘is there some place nearby that we can just get a drink?’ and i think of the usuals: bar 107, mignon, pete’s cafe, wurstküche, and cole’s, but all of those are easily a 10 minute walk, and for non-new yorkers, you might as well ask them to run a marathon. 410 boyd never even crossed my mind.
a few weeks ago, while walking back from lunch with my friend shirley, i noticed the 410 boyd sign had changed. it was now planks of wood with an eye peering through them. intriguing…
we decided to stop and check things out. erin, one of the owners, was on the patio and asked if she could help us. she was as sweet as my sweet potato pecan pie, told us that they would be opening in a few weeks, and that we would be pleasantly surprised. my neighbor katherine had met brian, the other owner, while doing some guerrilla gardening in their parking lot, and he was nice enough to donate water to them. we decided we would go get a drink on opening night, and as it turned out quite a few other people in our building also wanted to see the new digs. there was easily a dozen of us there.
the escondite, or the hiding place, is dark enough to hide from anyone, but so much so, that i had a hard time even reading the menu that night. i was told that they would be adding candles to the bar area, and reprinting the menus with a darker font. i have been back a few times now, tasted the food, had a chance to chat with erin and brian some more, candles have appeared and fonts are darker.
the menu is pretty simple: mostly burgers, some sandwiches, a few salads and appetizers, and hand cut french fries.
they all have some not so usual ingredients on them including fritos, refried beans, pineapple, hashbrowns, mashed potatoes, and cream cheese. they are vegetarian friendly, and can all be made with a veggie burger, or if you prefer chicken breast, that’s an option too. their buffalo mushrooms have a really good kick, and one of the best sauces i have tasted, but it made me want them to be chicken wings.
brian wants to respect the vegetarians and wont use the deep fryers for both fries and wings, and until they can expand, mushrooms it is. the teriyaki steak tips were tangy and had some good heat and spice as well. i need to try out their sandwiches next, but since i am a bit of a sandwich snob, who knows that outcome? ultimately, the food is good, and for a neighborhood local i don’t need it to win any james beard awards. what i do need is that on a sunday night after a long day at work, without a meal break, to show up after 10pm and erin to happily say ‘we serve food til 1am every night.’ thank you sweet baby jesus! …and this was the view on the patio that night:
and as we left last night:
i have been in enough over the past couple of weeks to know that once the word gets out about this place, my local will soon be popular, but even brian implied he has no qualms about turning people away that don’t give him the vibe that he wants. he and erin set out to make it a neighborhood place, and i believe it.
brian is also an owner at bar 107, which on the weekends especially, can get crazy and over run with usc kids, and what i like to call ‘bridge and tunnel’ peeps. the feeling at the escondite is much mellower and matured. it’s a place where people of any age will want to hang out and have a drink and some food, but has character and isn’t stuffy.
the music has been fantastic. a great mix ranging from obscure 70’s one hit wonders to punk rock, with a little old school willie nelson, and a bit of early 90’s grunge rock thrown in. again, all up in my wheelhouse. although, i have seen both erin and brian on 2 separate occasions run and jump the bar when a certain enigma song came up in the rotation.
i asked brian, why not just take the song off the ipod? he said, ‘cuz it’s fun to run.’
i’m pretty sure chrissy, janet and jack would be jealous.
the escondite is at 410 boyd street, la, ca 90013 • skid row adjacent • parking is free after 6 + all day sunday • happy hour 5-8p m-f.
*a special thanks to shirley shivhon for providing some of her photos.