One of the many perks of living in Los Angeles is never running out of places to explore, and the neighborhood surrounding Occidental makes for an excellent starting point. For new and returning students, the streets of Eagle Rock are constantly in bloom with promising, novel businesses. Among the many new establishments in the area are three restaurants that are diet, taste bud and wallet-friendly.
Even at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday night, the giant, lit-up arrow outside of Highland Park’s Town Pizza attracts customers like moths to a lantern. Located on the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 51, Town Pizza offers a wide variety of options, ranging from vegan and gluten-free to the classic cheese and pepperoni. For those feeling particularly creative, there is a “Build Your Own Pie” option complete with unusual toppings such as prosciutto, figs and beet juice ricotta.
“All our ingredients are high quality, top shelf, organic. We buy from local farmers’ markets, which make for a sustainable and forward-thinking business, as well as delicious and affordable pizzas,” employee Lena Meyers said.
Delicious and affordable is correct — at $3.75 a slice, the pizzas are a refreshing twist on high-priced delivery.
Located on Colorado Boulevard, Snow Station has redefined shaved ice with their edible “snow,” a light, creamy soy mixture served with endless toppings including, but certainly not limited to, macaron cookies, cheesecake, fruit, waffle crisps and more. While Snow Station is anything but an average ice cream shop, its specialties include several longtime crowd favorites, such as banana split, strawberry shortcake and minty delight.
“This is much healthier than other ice cream or frozen yogurt shops,” employee Carolina Gigena said.
In other words, Snow Station is open to vegans, lactose-intolerant diners and students dreading the freshman 15. By the looks of the crowded shop, business is booming, fueled by the sweet tooths of wide-eyed children and Occidental students.
Kitchen Mouse, a restaurant situated in Highland Park, is located a bit farther than walking distance from campus but well worth the eight-minute drive or bus ride. The modest cafe is adorned with simple yet eye-pleasing embroidery, potted plants, painted furniture and dozens of books and magazines, available for customers to read while they wait for their order. Even during rush hour, the staff was incredibly accommodating and pleasant, making it clear why customers return for more.
“It’s just a really cozy atmosphere with tons of great service. We’ve only been open a few months and we have a ton of regulars. I think that says a lot, that people come back,” employee Amber Preston said.
Like the aforementioned eateries, Kitchen Mouse also hosts a multitude of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. Among its most popular are the buckwheat pancakes and the Avocado TLT (tempeh, lettuce and tomato). Also like Town Pizza and Snow Station, all items on the menu are under ten dollars.
“The neighborhood has been really receptive, and we’re just really excited that we’re here,” said Preston.