Echo Park Specialty

Establishment neighborhood
Hey Hey
1555 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
We love our almond milk lattes as much as the next person, but when we’re looking for a break—and not for coffee—Hey Hey is where we go for milk teas and boba. And the experience is more like one you’d have at a cocktail bar: The drinks are handcrafted by a barista who layers chewy tapioca balls with loose-leaf tea and other ingredients that are all made in-house, like almond pudding and sea salt cream. The space, which is meant to be like a modern tea room, is more like a lounge for locals, often serving drinks late into the evening.
1716 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
Stories is Echo Park’s much-loved local bookstore, but what most people don’t realize is that behind all the books is a tiny café (and a good one, at that). We love escaping here for the quiet—the stacks and stacks of haphazardly arranged tomes soak up all the street noise. The tables are filled with other studious folks tapping away on computers or reading through screenplays, so there’s not much chatter. You can sit here for hours munching through the pastry selection without being disturbed.
Cookbook Market
1549 Echo Park Ave., Echo Park
Cookbook Market, founded six years ago by two longtime Echo Park residents (who also happen to be married), is the serious home cook's culinary playground. The tiny, tightly edited space stocks plenty of daily provisions (farm-fresh dairy, organic meat and vegetables, homemade pasta, pickles, and salsas), alongside harder-to-find artisanal items (Anson Mills grains, obscure oils and vinegars, special spice blends). Aside from fresh produce and pantry items, you'll also find a host of flavorful prepared salads, sandwiches, and tempting baked treats by the counter. Order a cup of the espresso-based coffee and sip it surrounded by buckets of wildflowers on the benches outside. For those living farther east, a second Cookbook Market location has just opened in Highland Park.
Taco Zone
1342 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park
While this Echo Park staple is considered a truck because it's technically located inside a truck, it only has one location: In the parking lot of an Echo Park Von's. It's best known as a late-night spot (it's always crowded on Friday and Saturday nights with people on their way home from bars), but locals come here for dinner, too. The al pastor and carne asada are both great—as is the horchata, if that's your thing—but the local order of choice is the suadero, which is like a brisket. Get a generous helping of the fresh salsa, which might be the best part of the entire operation.
Honey Hi
1620 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
A new-ish kid on Echo Park’s Sunset Strip block, Honey Hi is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood. Owned and operated by two best friends (one of whom is a nutritionist), Honey Hi offers a menu full of the type of food you wish you ate more often: gluten-free, refined-sugar-free, GMO-free, and seriously satisfying. A small, pleasantly bright, but no-frills space, this little café is the perfect place to grab a late breakfast, lunch with a friend, or a smoothie to go. While everything we’ve tried has been excellent, the miso bowl is a highlight. Oh, and the chocolate chip cookies made with cassava flour, grass-fed butter, and Maldon salt are no joke, either.