In mid-June, after a two-year, $45 million upgrade, Echo Park Lake reopened with a fantastic walking/jogging path circling the lake, paddle boats, gorgeous lotus beds at the edges of the lake, and now, a café serving breakfast and lunch.
Square One at the Boathouse opened last Wednesday. It's a small offshoot of Square One Dining, the breakfast and lunch cafe on Fountain Avenue in the shadow of the Scientology Center in Hollywood. At Echo Park Lake, it occupies the tiny boathouse that fronts the paddle boat operation and serves a limited menu of baked goods, breakfast items and sandwiches.
So while on the sidewalk outside you can grab a popsicle or dirty water dog from a street vendor, inside you can order an organic hot dog or a squash blossom breakfast burrito. Food is delivered to tables that are on the outdoor, non-lake-facing side of the boathouse, which makes sense space-wise I suppose, but is a little odd given that it's the only place in the entire park without a view of the water.
Still, it's nice to be able to have a glass of homemade lemonade and a farro salad before setting out to paddle the lake. There's a patty melt and a burger, and a BLT with avocado. Potato taquitos come with a slightly bland salsa verde and a scoop of better-than-average guacamole. The veggie sandwich, composed of avocado, tomato, red onion, sprouts and shredded cheddar, comes on five-grain bread with assertive seed mustard, and is both light and filling at the same time.
Once you're finished, head through the café to the boat ramp to claim your paddle boat. Just don't forget cash. Square One at the Boathouse accepts cards; the paddle boat folks do not.