Despite operating more than a dozen other California locations, the Japanese cream-puff chain Beard Papa's is declaring its newest Los Angeles location its flagship. Tucked inside a Palms strip mall at the corner of Palms Avenue and Sepulveda Boulevard, the Westside cream-puff cafe quietly opened three months ago, and several other Southern California locations are in the works.

Housed within the former location of Guelaguetza, the new Beard Papa's in Palms is barely visible from the street except for a sandwich board on the sidewalk and a small sign displaying the company's logo, the namesake “bearded papa,” which resembles a cross between Santa Claus and Bill Murray's character in The Life Aquatic.

Credit: JSwann

Credit: JSwann

Once inside, the new space is virtually unrecognizable from when it housed one of the best Oaxacan restaurants in town. Wood paneling covers the walls and counters, while shared dining tables and industrial office stools line the floor. Behind the front counter, the offerings are sweet and simple: cream puffs, mochi ice cream, coffee and espresso.

Nearly 200 cream puffs — a mix of eclairs, cookie puffs, cocoa puffs and Paris brests — are baked on-site daily and pumped with either house-made vanilla custard or a flavored filling that changes depending on the day: Mondays are espresso, Tuesdays are chocolate, Wednesdays are banana, Thursdays are green tea and chocolate reigns supreme all weekend.

Imported from Hawaii, the mochi ice cream is available any day of the week in all flavors — vanilla, passion fruit, green tea, strawberry, espresso or lychee — for $1.75 each.

Need to wash down all the powdered sugar? Each cup of coffee (including the iced coffee) is pour-over, which means it's worth skipping the coffee-chain drive-through in the same shopping center, even if it means getting out of your car, in favor of a cup that's brewed to order.

If you can't make it to the Westside flagship, never fear for a shortage of cream puffs: New Beard Papa's locations are scheduled to open in Rowland Heights' Diamond Plaza and Koreatown's Madang the Courtyard at the end of June and later this summer, respectively.

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LA Weekly