Wonderful Wednesday: Great Food, Dodgy Service

This week on Wonderful Wednesday, Blackmailers Don’t Shoot is focusing on places that serve up great food around the L.A. area that also feature dodgy service. This is not an exhaustive list, but if you’re ever in the area go check at least one of them out.

Give Us Your Money and Get Out – Tito’s Tacos, Culver City (Warning – website has really obnoxious autoplay song that you can’t turn off)

During lunch hour, people pack the front counter ten deep at Tito’s Tacos, filling the sidewalk and threatening to spill into the street. For the amount of people that they churn through the place, the line moves pretty quick. That’s because the people who work at Tito’s don’t like you, and they want you out of there. Double the attitude if you actually make it into the packed restaurant.

You’ll come back and endure it all again, though, because the tacos are that good.

Best Place to Be Insulted by a Waitress – Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, L.A., Pasadena and Long Beach

Roscoe’s shouldn’t be any good. It should be the kind of place that tourists visit to pay a bunch of money for shitty food and go home with a t-shirt. Somehow, though, the food at Roscoe’s is pretty good, and business is doing well enough that they’re planning to open a location in Anaheim. What’s remarkable about that is that most of their stores are located in bad (or formerly bad) neighborhoods. The  location closest to me in Hollywood used to be a great place to wave at prostitutes around dusk, but now it’s part of the gentrified Hollywood tourist trap.

Best urban legend about Roscoe’s: People say that in the past there was a quota on how many white people were allowed in Roscoe’s at once.

Favorite story about Roscoe’s: The Pico location has or had a waitress named Mama. A friend was there late one night after some heavy drinking, and was resting his head in his hands with his elbows on the table. Mama saw this and knocked his elbows off the table, yelling, “Get yo elbows off Mama’s table!”

Slow Southern Style – Les Sisters, Chatsworth

One of my readers in the South will have to tell me if this is typical. (Mike, I’m looking at you.) Les Sisters is a Southern cafe started by three sisters from New Orleans, and I’m pretty sure that all the staff is from there as well. The place opens for dinner at 5:00, so when I got there at 5:15 and the place was still closed, my Southern California brain didn’t compute what was happening. When the guy inside noticed the time, he went from a shuffle to an amble and unlocked the door. After about ten minutes, the waitress sat down at our table to take our orders, and I think that they actually slaughtered the chicken while we waited for our orders.

Don’t get me wrong. They were some of the nicest people I’ve ever run across as far as waitstaff goes. The food is amazing and they bring the homemade iced tea and lemonade to the table unsweetened with a sugar canister. Go for dinner or for lunch on a day off so you will have plenty of time. I think the regulars know this, and it’s part of the charm.

Wow. This beast is over 500 words. I’m having withdrawal from not ragging on ObamaCare today.

Update: Reblogged by Mike G, who answers my question. I guess we like our stereotypical Southerners out here. I do recommend Les Sisters if you’re in the Valley and have the time.



  1. thatmrgguy

    Well, the good food part is right, but we also have fast service and friendly wait staff. A restaurant like you describe wouldn’t make it down here very long.

    We’re connoisseurs of good food. For instance, the cafe I eat breakfast at every morning (except Sunday), knows me by name and asks …”the usual?” Another restaurant we frequent for take out also knows my voice and also knows my order…16 oz Prime Rib with Loaded Baked ‘Tater’, house salad w/ Ranch dressing and a side order of Fries. The only time I change the order is if they have Mahi Mahi as the special.

    We also go to a diner next to Clemson University called “Paws.” They have great food and really good service.

    The caveat being that we live in a small town, not a big city like you do, so word gets around fast if things aren’t up to snuff.