Gus’s Lunchbox was a restaurant that was hard to love.
The new semipermanent coffee shop from Sqirl’s Jessica Koslow, though, has transformed the blighted space.
After taking over Gus’s, Koslow turned the restaurant’s kitchen into a production facility for her inventive jams, but the space’s seating area sat empty, save for a few pickle fermenters.
So two weeks ago she, along with Intelligentsia alums Charles Babinski and Kyle Glanville--together known as G&B Coffee--debuted their narrow slip of a café. Now, a steady stream of mustachioed dudes, myriad bicyclists and hip young mothers, each Instagramming all the livelong day, are landing on the same corner of Virgil and Marathon for food and coffee.
The espresso machine and drip bar brew a frequently rotating array of beans from such roasters as Heart and 49th Parallel, while Koslow and Ria Wilson, formerly of Canelé, are serving a short, ambitious menu of breakfast and lunch items.
The toast-anchored dishes, made with buttery planks of Proof Bakery’s brioche, are excellent, especially the version topped with fermented-chile-and-tomatillo-dressed greens and a fried egg ($6.50). And don’t miss the porridge ($6): The milk-simmered Kokuho Rose brown rice--served with hazelnuts and a dollop of jam--is, as Goldilocks might say, just right.
Sqirl with G&B Coffee, 720 N. Virgil Ave., East Hollywood; 213-394-6526 or sqirlla.com