Families find quaint shops and good food in this cozy part of town.
by Erin Mahoney Harris
Larchmont Boulevard, which runs between Melrose Avenue and 3rd Street, has long stood in as “Main Street USA” for the surrounding communities of Hancock Park and Windsor Square. Independently owned shops and restaurants still outnumber major chains, and every other person seems to be accompanied by a friendly, well-trained dog on a leash. The atmosphere is civilized and laid-back, offering a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of nearby Hollywood.
Founded as an offshoot of longstanding neighborhood institution Landis General Store, Landis’ Labyrinth (140 and 144 N. Larchmont Blvd.; 323-465-7998; www.landislabyrinth.blogspot.com) now has an identity all its own. The shop is divided between two separate storefronts, one specializing in games, classic toys and kitschy items that will appeal to older kids and their parents, and another promoting developmental toys for younger children.
Venerable independent bookshop Chevalier’s (126 N. Larchmont Blvd.; 323-465-1334; www.chevaliersbooks.blogspot.com) has a small room devoted entirely to carefully chosen children’s books, with reading chairs and tables for tykes to settle in.
A pizza joint is always a safe bet for lunch with kids, although the thin-crust NYC-style pies at Village Pizzeria (131 N. Larchmont Blvd.; 323-465-5566; www.villagepizzeria.net) are hardly run-of-the-mill. Tasty toppings such as breaded eggplant, pesto, garlic and spinach (the Veggie II) will appeal to adults, and everyone will flip over the garlic rolls.
Upscale children’s store Flicka (204 N. Larchmont Blvd.; 323-466-5822) features a play area to keep young tots busy while Mom shops for European-label kids’ clothing, costumes and accessories in a pleasant, bright and airy boutique environment.
Bricks & Scones (403 N Larchmont Blvd.; 323-463-0811; www.bricksandscones.com) may attract laptop-toting adults with its free WiFi and excellent coffee and pastries, but the coffee shop’s carpeted spiral staircase, interesting rooms to explore and spacious shaded patio create a welcoming environment for kids as well.
Also Worth a Look…
• From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Sunday, families, foodies and chefs from Hancock Park and beyond congregate at the Larchmont Farmers Market (209 N. Larchmont Blvd.), more manageable than the sprawling Sunday Hollywood market but with an incredible selection of fresh produce, handmade pastas and prepared foods.
• A New Age-y vibe, and all-vegan/mostly macrobiotic menu sets Café Gratitude (639 N. Larchmont Blvd.; 323-580-6383; www.cafegratitudela.com) a world apart from most family-friendly restaurants. Kids will love the “cheesy” quinoa made with cashew mozzarella and apple slices with almond butter.
• The carefully chosen selection of secondhand clothes, toys and gear at children’s resale boutique BlueBird (652 N. Larchmont Blvd.; 323-466-0408; www.bluebirdlakids.com) is a godsend to parents on a budget.