Experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for most Americans, it could be an afterthought. 41 percent of Americans skip breakfast every morning, according to a report by The Huffington Post. The problem is especially evident for people who either have a long commute ahead of them, or start their shifts early in the morning
But while not everyone has the time to scramble some eggs in the morning, there are plenty of options in the L.A. area for an early breakfast that hits the spot. Most people are happy enough to swing by Starbucks and call it a meal, but if you’re looking for something independent, here’s our five favorite morning coffee shops.
Opening at 6 a.m., Lucky Boy is one of Pasadena’s best spots for breakfast. Alongside your typical greasy fare, you’ll find what Lucky Boy proudly proclaims to be the “King of the Breakfast Burrito,” and this should be your pick any time visiting Lucky Boy. Packed with bacon, egg and potatoes, the breakfast burrito is a meal to-go, and perfect for carrying into the office. Better yet, take it on transit! Lucky Boy is located just two blocks from Fillmore Station on the Metro Gold Line. Thousands commute on Metro each day, so leaving just a few minutes early, you can enjoy a big, satisfying burrito, so long as you work anywhere between Azusa and East LA.
CalEdison Espresso Bar
Of course going to Lucky Boy means actually leaving early. If you’re running late at all, but still find time to pencil in morning coffee, you might be better off getting something closer to work, and if you’re downtown, there’s no shortage of options. My new favorite is the CalEdison Espresso Bar, tucked into the redesigned lobby of the CalEdison Building in the Financial District. Run by Portland transplants Nossa Familia Coffee, the CalEdison Espresso Bar has been called “the most gorgeous place to drink coffee in L.A.” by Eater LA, and with good reason. Marble floors, restored murals and opulence from top to bottom accents the Brazilian coffee menu, which features sweet cafezinho, energizing Chai tea and even mini fritters from Donut Snob.
Another DTLA favorite of mine is the succinctly named LA Cafe. Like Pasadena’s Lucky Boy, LA Cafe is located just a quick walk from Metro transit, this time just two blocks out from Pershing Square. The menu runs the gamut from quick bites to full breakfast platters, but my favorite is the Kitchen Sink sandwich. Although it doesn’t contain everything (avocado is extra, after all), it contains big helpings of eggs, ham, bacon and mushrooms, a huge game-changer for me personally. If I’m ever in the mood for something lighter, though, my eye quickly wanders to the simplicity of the toasted bagel, and the quick add-ons and substitutes available. My choice of bagel topping is always just fresh hummus, but that’s far from all that’s available here.
If you’ve got a really early shift, Fred 62 is the way to start your day. Located in Los Feliz and featuring breakfast sandwiches and comfort food, Fred 62’s iconic orange and mint facade is also the home of non-breakfast treats like calamari and fried macaroni and cheese balls. If you’re craving anything off the dinner menu, you’re out of luck, but lunch is served 24/7, with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options to boot. Noodles are also available, and the longer you look through Fred 62’s menu, the more you realize that there’s no shortage of options at this quirky diner.
Mantra Coffee Company
While it’s not as centrally located as other options on this list, Azusa’s Mantra Coffee Company deserves a special shout-out from me for a few reasons. First of all, blazing fast wifi and hot coffee make this the ideal stop to work from if your office is where you choose. Why work from home when you can work in plain view of the San Gabriel Mountains? Mantra also prides itself on being a low-waste coffee company, meaning all you’ll walk away with here is great drinks and your paper cup. On top of that, 50 percent of proceeds are donated to charity here, meaning you’re helping others in ways beyond just cutting waste. But my favorite part of breakfast at Mantra is how chill it is. If you ever need a low-stress day away from the office, come stay awhile at the SGV’s best coffee shop.