Don’t let your meat loaf. One of my dad’s favorite sayings sure is funny, but it doesn’t quite hold true. Yes, most people like a good steak, shoulder or chop, but there’s something comforting in a juicy slab of ground meat, whether it’s crafted from pork, beef, lamb, or bison. Here are 13 of my favorite meatloaves in L.A.
Numbered establishments on the map correspond to information below for easy reference. Establishments also appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
1. 101 Coffee Shop Meatloaf ($14.95): Warner Ebbink and chef Brandon Boudet revived this retro coffee shop on the street-side of the Best Western Plus Hollywood Hills Hotel, a restaurant most famous for Vince Vaughn talking about “beautiful babies” in “Swingers.” 101 Coffee Shop features faux wood counters, tan booths, stone walls, dropdown globe lanterns, and a classic meatloaf. Twin slabs combine ground beef and turkey with chopped mushrooms, onions, light breadcrumbs and herbs (oregano and parsley). The loaf sports crisp, pleasantly chewy edges and a caramelized ketchup cap. The entree typically comes with salad, green beans, and mashed potatoes with gravy, though I swapped out the potatoes and salad for spinach and creamy butternut squash soup that tasted like an early Thanksgiving.
2. Auntie Em’s Kitchen Donna’s Mom’s Meatloaf ($11.95) [CLOSED]
Musician/chef Terri Wahl presides over this red-coated Eagle Rock institution, which features a dining room with pastel yellow, blue and green striped walls, an art-lined back patio, and bathrooms coated in images of punk rock concert posters past. Longtime chef Donna Coppola contributed Donna’s Mom’s Meatloaf, which blends beef with celery, onion, egg, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and 10 different spices, including cumin and garlic. The loaf bakes with tangy house-made ketchup on top and appears on country white bread with tomatoes, baby greens, mayo, and mustard. The sandwich comes with “homemade refrigerator pickles,” a tart sandwich counterpoint.
3. Dulan’s on Crenshaw Meatloaf ($9.95): This Crenshaw cafeteria and banquet hall from Gregory Dulan features wood tables, tile floors, an overhead menu and silky smooth slo-jams on the speakers. Their meatloaf lunch consists of a single but substantial slab, sliced more than one-inch thick, submerged in gravy topped with slow cooked onions and cayenne. Your meat comes with a cornbread muffin and a choice of two sides. Let me recommend vegetarian red beans and collard greens cooked with pork.
4. The Factory Kitchen Polpettone ($18): Angelo Auriana is “at the stove” and Matteo Ferdinandi is “serving you” at this refined Italian restaurant on an unlikely Arts District side street. The space involves concrete, wood tables, an open kitchen with copper accents, and vivid spice jars on the east wall. Their Italianate take on meatloaf is Polpettone, a surprisingly juicy turkey meatloaf folded with onion, garlic, breadcrumbs and egg binder. Zesty peperonata, onions, garden greens, and fine herbs round out the colorful plate.