Santa Monica and Venice can feel like the complete California stereotype, and sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming. Surfers line the beach in the early morning all the way from the pier in Santa Monica down to the boardwalk in Venice. The before work business crowd mixes with the hoards of little gromms in surf lessons who scream and yell with delight as their friends pull into head high barrels (although they don’t have to be much higher than 4 feet to be head high). Once you leave the beach, the boardwalk is full of touristy, new age shops that serve up a five-dollar lattes from glossy storefronts on the beach. Orrrrr, you can make a little effort and make your way off the ocean strip and find some places with a whole lot more character. One place that should fit the fancy of the Roots Rated reader is Flake. Yes, the one word name still is hipster chic, but the décor and fare distracts from any pre-made judgments you may have.
What Makes it Great If not for its prime real estate right on Rose Avenue in Venice, Flake could just as easily in a small beach town away from all the fanfare of LA. Only a few blocks from the beach, it is a great place to grab a bite to eat and a coffee after your morning surf session or boardwalk run.
The food is standard quick breakfast food but with a southern California twist. Flake makes classic pastries and egg sandwiches (something that is sometimes surprisingly hard to find in LA), and has as many healthy twists on the menu as they do decadent meaty delicacies. Their coffee is good, but not pretentious (they don’t ask you which Latin American or African nation you want your coffee to originate from) and the ambiance makes you want to stay, and come back.
Flake also is quite the eclectic people watching location. Venice, like the rest of Los Angeles, is the process of a deep gentrification, but there is still a nice mix of the old (artists and surfers) and the new (professionals and hipsters). Do not worry though, they are all welcoming, you may even strike up a nice conversation with one of the many friendly locals who come in and out (always a good sign!!).
Who is Going to Love It< This place is primarily a breakfast, brunch and lunch spot, which is perfect for the early morning surfer or oceanfront runner. Good for those who want a quick coffee on the way to work, those who need some quality coffee shop time (apply for jobs?), and those who are just getting breakfast with a friend.
Parking, Directions, & Fees Flake is right on Rose Avenue in Venice, between 5th Avenue and Rennie Avenue, which puts it with easy walking distance from the Pacific. Open from 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM; usually pretty easy to find a place to sit (on weekdays that is) because of all the seating outside. Sometimes parking can be an issue on Rose, but you will probably be able to put your car somewhere on the perpendicular streets (5th or Rennie).