The Nickel Diner: This Breakfast is the Jam at 5th & Main

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Diner Los Angeles

The Nickel Diner is part of DTLA's revitalization efforts.

“Impresario” Kristen Trattner and Chef Monica May opened The Nickel Diner over the summer, helping to transform another block of downtown’s diminishing Skid Row while contributing one of L.A.’s better breakfasts.


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During construction, Trattner and May discovered original hand-painted menus on walls that date to the ’40s.

The space features plenty of red, including red booths. The only thing it was missing was counter seating. It’s fun to watch The Nickel’s skilled short-order cooks, but that’s not possible given the configuration.

Donut Los Angeles

Pastry Chef Sharlena Fong makes modern takes on classic pastries. Her Bacon Donut ($2.50) is a textbook glazed donut showered with crispy bacon bits. Fresh from the fryer, the donut would have been even more devastating.

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5th and Main ($8.75) involved spicy BBQ pork hash topped with two poached eggs and potato chunks that practically caramelized in porky runoff.

The Nickel Diner’s scrambles reminded me of what Millie’s has been doing for years with their “messes.”

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The first scramble ($8.50) combined bacon, spinach, roasted garlic and gobs of goat cheese. Accompanying roasted potatoes were excellent, with crusty exteriors and lush interiors.

Breakfast Los Angeles

Salmon scramble ($9.75) included leeks, roasted tomatoes, chives and a sour cream squiggle. This scramble came with a dish of cheesy polenta, basically a sweeter, cheesier version of grits.

Breakfast also came with a choice of toast, including white, wheat or sourdough. Tables at The Nickel host containers of seasonal jam. During our visit, that meant strawberry-pear.

After you’re finished eating, pay at the register. Of course, in classic diner style, they had cookies for sale at the register. The Nickel team plans to open for dinner and late-night. There’s no reason to think their food will decline as the skies grow dark.

The Nickel Diner: This Breakfast is the Jam at 5th & Main

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

i just wanted to thank the dinner for a excellent breakfast and especially the waitress who waited on us.She didn’t write any thing down and our meal was perfect.Thanks to all especially our wonderful waitress ricki she is the best.I know i misspelled her name

I could eat here for breakfast once a week. That bacon doughnut, I could eat once a day. Or twice an hour.

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