Mid-City Slicker

Where to eat and drink now on Fairfax

Sneaker heads and skaters may want to watch their backs.

The strip of Fairfax known for its designer streetwear and limited-edition footwear is making room for a new crowd: hungry Angelenos. Animal was first to arrive, and after a bit of a lag, new-school restaurants and bars are changing the Mid-City neighborhood into a dining destination. The Animal guys are back, too, with a wine shop in the works.

Here, your guide on where to eat and drink on Fairfax right now.

Breakfast: Cofax

It was only a matter of time until the requisite boutique coffee shop popped up. This tiny storefront carries Stumptown and guest roasters such as Counter Culture—try it drip ($3) or flat white ($3.50)—on rotation. But the game changer here is from the kitchen: the burrito ($6). The foil-wrapped creation starts with soft scrambled eggs, accompanied by smoked potato hash with onions and peppers, cheddar cheese and pico de gallo. The genius move is crushed tortilla chips for crunch, with chorizo (50 cents) and/or avocado ($1) available as add-ons. The pro move is an extra order of spicy salsa roja or bright smoked-tomatillo salsa verde, depending on your mood. P.S.: The breakfast burrito is served all day.

Munchies: Bird N Hand

Bird N Hand may not get a lot of play—hours are Monday to Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday to Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., but its doors may still be closed—but try to seek it out for the fried chicken: Order it harissa or Sichuan—choose wings ($7.50) or thighs ($8.50), boneless ($8.50), double-baked ($7.50) or in sandwich ($9.50) form. All orders are made with free-range chicken that's well seasoned, crisp and not too oily. Go for a two- to eight-piece option with creamy slaw, waffle ($4) and corn muffin ($3.50) add-ons.

Stumptown coffee at Cofax | Photo: Courtesy of Cofax

Happy hour: Plan Check

Plan Check is always bustling. Why? Burgers, fried chicken and plenty of booze. Come happy hour (Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.), there are $6 Old Fashioneds and special off-the-menu orders. The crowd-favorite S.F.C. (Smoky Fried Chicken) is offered as a sandwich ($12)—buttermilk-brined Jidori chicken fried in beef tallow with yam preserves, smoky gravy and pickled okra. To finish: a plate of the famed cruller doughnuts ($6).

Nightcap: Blue Collar

Located south of the heavily trafficked strip between Melrose and Beverly, this newcomer is a neighborhood gem worth the extra (gasp!) walkable trek below Third Street. Follow the blue neon sign: Inside, you'll find Marilyn and Marlon on the walls (and Harry Belafonte on the playlist), channeling a grown-up, old-timey, unassuming bar. There are no fancy tricks or even menus. Just tell the barkeep what you like, and he or she will mix some TLC in your drink and bring it out to you.

Late night: Prime Pizza

The guys behind Cofax (and The Golden State and Bludso's) are trying their hands at pizza, but we're not talking about the wood-fired, designer Neapolitan of late. Here, it's old-school, New York–style pies. And as it's done in any proper NY pizzeria, the thin-crust pizza is sold by the slice ($2.50 to $4) on flimsy paper plates. You could order a tomato-and-mozz slice ($2.50), or dress it up with pepperoni and slivers of basil ($3.50), or with house-made sausage, onions and bell peppers ($3.50). And when in Rome, eat with the proper hold: the fold.