Los Angeles welcomes back unique cafe and bakery

After two years of closure, Los Angeles’ infamous Doughboys Cafe has finally reopened.

Soup du jour · Doughboys Cafe returns to Los Angeles with its original menu and recipes intact. Since reopening Jan. 13, visitors have enjoyed offerings including the popular French Onion soup (above). - Sophia Lee | Daily Trojan

First established in 1992, this little bakery-turned-restaurant on Third Street stirred up quite a hype with its famous red velvet cake and all-day breakfasts with huge portions at reasonable prices.

Unfortunately, it was also infamous for health violations and, after closing, rumors flew around about food poisoning and cockroach infestations. Although the restaurant’s new owner addresses these rumors as false on the Doughboys website, the local staple remained closed, leaving Los Angeles foodies helpless.

But now the little café that could is back — with new management, a new look and the same great menu that made it famous.

The days of cockroach infestation rumors are behind Doughboys and the location’s new look provides relief for those who are at all concerned. The interior is bright, clean and trendy with soft, warm colors and natural sunlight flowing through the street-side wall of windows.

The place was packed with customers, despite it being late in the afternoon, granting extra comfort in the fact that if you get food poisoning, at least you won’t be the only one.

Doughboys Cafe has an extensive menu, full of unique and diverse choices.

With fascinating pancake options, such as Rice Krispy and pineapple or coconut and macadamia nut, and an enormous sandwich called the Monster — as the menu says, “you eat it like a big taco” — every choice description is drool-worthy. And between Dougboys’ sweet breakfast items and savory lunch options, the only problem is deciding what to try first.

The servers are not much help in providing advice, though. “Everything is good,” one insisted. “You can’t go wrong with anything,” said another. And perhaps they are right.

No matter what comes out of the kitchen, it’s sure to provide a pleasant gastronomical experience and for a reasonable price too. Food here is cheap, even by L.A. standards. Most dishes are under $10, and portions are big enough to make a leftover snack.

The Red Fennel Hash — a breakfast dish of grilled, braised beef, sweet potato, onions and roasted red beets — comes topped with two griddle-fried eggs, green onions and cheddar-crusted focaccia with gravy on the side.

It is certainly not your average hash breakfast. A big mound of red, orange and gold from the savory nectar of the runny yolks covers the entire dish and it’s altogether smoky, slightly sweet and delicious. The focaccia bread around it is chewy and perfect for mopping up the leftover grease and juices.

The Grilled Tuna Melt comes as a thick slather of hot tuna salad and cheddar cheese between two buttered slices of toasted sourdough bread. The tuna salad is made from solid white tuna, a tiny bit of diced red onions, enough mayonnaise to bind them together and nothing else. It definitely packs enough tuna for your buck and is perfectly creamy, cheesy and hot.

The French Onion soup is a divine revelation of what real soup should taste like. Heated to order, it comes steaming in a ceramic bowl, topped with garlic-butter toast and melted Swiss cheese. The broth is flavorful, chock-full of caramelized onions, and the size of a bowl portion makes a meal in itself.

Meanwhile, the Soup au Pistou is the antonym of the French Onion. Instead of a greasy and cheesy mess, it is a light, tomato-based soup made from fresh vegetables and topped with a dollop of homemade basil pesto. It comes served with grilled French bread and makes for a light yet satisfying meal for the more health-conscious customer.

This being Third Street, however, parking is horrible. Doughboys has neither valet parking or its own parking area, so, if you bring your own car, you are left on your own to find a parking spot. This might sound like a hassle, but the food makes it all worth it.

Whether you are looking for a fresh, healthy meal or a greasy, finger-licking hangover dish, Doughboys has it all. By the time you’ve taken your last bite, you will have forgetten all the gossip about vermin problems and health inspection failures.

Doughboys, welcome back.