Welcome to Oxy, Class of 2021! While you will no doubt be spending most of your time on campus — preoccupied with a seemingly endless workload — it is vital that you also get out into the local community and support our neighboring businesses. The Eagle Rock and Highland Park neighborhoods are bustling with countless hotspots. Whether you’re in need of a chic dress for the weekend or a quick bite with friends, everything you want can be found within walking distance of Occidental’s campus. Here are a few of The Weekly’s preferred local spots. While this is an informative list, it is by no means comprehensive, and we regret that we don’t have endless print space to feature all of the businesses in our community. Start with these, but make sure to keep exploring, and find a few of your own favorites as well.
Lemon Poppy Kitchen
Lemon Poppy Kitchen is a wonderfully versatile café. It’s the perfect brunch spot for groups, but the business’ free wifi also makes it a tempting study spot if you’d like to get some work done while you nourish yourself. The “Plachinta Breakfast” is a personal favorite.
“The plachinta is a Romanian specialty that takes a warm flat bread and wraps it around cheeses, greens, olives, scallions, or a variety of other ingredients. The result is a tasty tortilla-like creation that is great all on its own or as the base for other dishes,” according to Lemon Poppy Kitchen website.
Occidental students have been loyal customers of the business since it first opened in 2012, Lemon Poppy Kitchen co-owner Katie Kildow said.
“We have been incredibly fortunate to have the support of such a great community of students,” Kildow said. “We’ve also been fortunate to have a few Oxy alums work for us, and they’ve been an integral part of our team.”
While the business does not currently offer student discounts, they are open to considering it in the future, according to Kildow.
If you’re looking for pizza by the slice, Town Pizza is right around the corner. Just a 10-minute walk from campus, Town offers a large variety of ready-to-eat pies — from the highly addictive “Zetta’s Pesto” to vegan and gluten free options as well. They also recently added a more romantic sit-down area where diners can enjoy a formal meal setting.
“If there is one thing we know, it’s that you can’t get through college without pizza,” Town Pizza owner, chef and general manager Joram Young said via email. “We offer a 10 percent discount to all Oxy students to make sure they get their fill on their road to success.”
For those interested in the authentic Italian experience, Casa Bianca is a historic Eagle Rock staple. Known for their thin-crusted pizzas and walls adorned with Italian memorabilia, Casa Bianca is a great restaurant for larger groups (think: parents or club dinners).
“We give donations to Oxy and try to support the campus as much as we can,” owner Andrea Martorana said.
With a loyal customer base that once included 44th President Barack “Barry” Obama ’83, it’s safe to say this joint is worth adding to your list.
The restaurant does not currently offer student discounts.
A well-known favorite among those looking for a solid breakfast burrito, Delia’s is right on York and Avenue 45 — a quick walk from campus for hungry students. Their $5 bestseller includes eggs, hash brown, cheese and your choice of meat or avocado. But be warned: they only take cash.
“[We have] very delicious food, of course,” Mark Flores said. “We have a lot of options that are pretty affordable for the students on campus in the area.”
The food may be what draws customers in, but the staff is what keeps them coming back. Delia’s, a family-owned Mexican diner, was founded in 2002 by Delia and Adolfo Flores. Their son, Mark, can often be found behind the counter.
“We try to be as friendly as we can to everybody, and I feel like everybody from Oxy knows my mom — she’s a very sweet lady,” Mark Flores said. “We try to make you feel as at home as we possibly can. And that kind of just sets us apart from other people because it’s a very welcoming environment.”
Local Shopping Areas
If you’re not feeling the hipster aesthetic, and just really need a J. Crew sweater, we’ve got that covered as well. Occidental is surrounded by some of the most popular shopping malls in Los Angeles County — the Glendale Galleria, The Americana at Brand and Old Town Pasadena, to name a few. So, go ahead and get that sequined Zara top — we promise we won’t tell.
Located next to Swork Coffee on Eagle Rock Blvd., Owl Talk features a highly curated collection of new and used clothing and accessories. The store is owned by sisters Kathleen and Sharon Kroner, who both have over twenty years of experience with buying and selling clothing, according to their website.
“We’ve always loved having new students discover our shop and find something that suits their mood and fashion sense,” Sharon Kroner said. “Having them in our shop reminds us of what we’re here for: the next youthful generation of humanity — thinkers and changers of history. It’s humbling and inspiring.”
Regarding sustainability, Sharon Kroner described why thrifting is an effective way to minimize one’s negative impact on the environment.
“We’ve always felt that many items have a second and third life to them,” Kroner said. “These items are still usable and by buying second hand. It not only gives someone else a chance to experience and use them, but slows down the rate at which these things end up going into the landfill.”
Owl Talk offers a 10 percent discount to Occidental students.
LA ROAD THRIFT STORE
If you’re in the mood for a less curated and more exploratory fashion experience, stop by LA Road Thrift Store located at 3516 N Eagle Rock Blvd. In addition to vintage clothing pieces, you can also find discount furniture and household items for your dorm.
“When you move, you need furniture, household [items], clothing and more,” store manager Jared Stoltzfus said. “We offer all that in one convenient place. Best prices in town — 30–40 percent less than Goodwill.”
Furthermore, the business invests in the community by donating earnings to local homeless shelters, youth centers and outreach programs, according to the LA Road website.
LA Road offers Occidental students a 10 percent discount on its already low prices.
Café de Leche
With free wifi, a close proximity to campus and a decadent “Horchata con Espresso” latte, Café de Leche on York Blvd. is a popular gathering point for students looking to get some time away from the Academic Commons.
“Café de Leche is Oxy’s best place to study, meet up or just hang out and meet other folks in your neighborhood,” co-owner Matthew Schodorf said.
However, note that the café shuts off their wifi on the weekends to create a more social environment. If you’re looking to get some research done on a Sunday morning, we suggest heading to Swork or Zweet (which both also offer student discounts at 5 and 10 percent, respectively) instead, but if you’re interested in finishing the last 30 pages of your CSP reading without cyber distractions, then this is your spot.
Café de Leche offers a 10 percent discount for Occidental students and staff.