Monday, August 24, 2015

Crenshaw Square

Last week, my friend, Paddy Calistro re-posted a video on Facebook called "Breakfast at Tak's." I loved this short video about the community of people who gather at this multi-cultural coffee shop in Crenshaw Square, on Crenshaw Boulevard near 39th Street. 

Entrance off rear parking area, Crenshaw Square

I was familiar with the story of the coffee shop at the Holiday Bowl, a similar melting pot for the Asian-American, African-American, Mexican-American groups in the area. After the Holiday Bowl Coffee Shop was closed, people from Holiday opened Tak's Coffee Shop  in nearby Crenshaw Square. 

Scott, Paddy, grits, eggs and toast

Tak's is open for breakfast and lunch. Their menu reflects a cross-cultural mix. You can order biscuits with gravy, grits, Louisiana hot links or fried chicken wings. You can also order slices of char-su pork, saimin noodles and sunomono, a pickled Japanese cabbage salad. I'd heard about the Loco Moco, so that's what I ordered. This is known as a Hawaiian dish, consisting of rice topped with a hamburger, fried egg and brown gravy.  
Loco Moco

The most delicious heart-attack on a plate!

It was great meeting up with Paddy and her husband, Scott. We used to see each other more often around town at different events before our horrendous traffic inhibited our meet-ups. The menu from Tak's is featured in the Angel City Press publication, "To Live and Dine in L.A." Paddy brought a copy of the book for Mary, the owner of Tak's Coffee Shop. 

The interior of the Square's courtyard yields two floors of offices and shops

The area is tidy and well-maintained

After breakfast we walked around the Crenshaw Square, built in 1959. This development recently sold for $5.9 million dollars and is slated for re-development. There's quite a bit of proposed construction happening near here too, via the Curbed L.A. blog. The new Crenshaw Metro Line will be going right down the center of the Boulevard, in front of the Square shops. I was told by some locals outside Crenshaw Square that the liquor store owners have been asked to vacate. Earlz Grille was supposed to open here, but the sign has been up for a year and Earlz has not opened.  Sigh. I wish I could get hold of that Asian-style Crenshaw Square sign!
The top and bottom bars of this sign were painted bright red in the past

Further evidence that this neighborhood was and is home to many Asian-Americans are the houses located just east of Crenshaw Square. On a few blocks near that fateful corner of Norton Avenue and 39th Street, you'll see some beautiful Japanese-style gardens in front of mid-20th century homes.

Here's a link to an explanation of the Japanese presence in the Crenshaw area, alongside their white and African-American neighbors.

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