Replacing the old Mani's on Fairfax, Black Cat Bakery & Cafe, which opens December 15, is the brainchild of 34-year restaurant industry veteran Nile Park (Food Art Group, Comme Ca, Pizzeria Ortica), and chef Nick Coe (Loews, One Pico, Nick's in South Pasadena). Black Cat will carry a traditional American menu of comfort food and a tinge of Southern cuisine. “The Third Street area is filled with high-end food,” explained Park, “and it's not comforting enough for us.”

Open for breakfast and lunch, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the beginning stages of development, the restaurant/cafe will serve items such as eggs benedict with pigs feet instead of Canadian ham, and traditional waffles. The price point will remain lower than that of surrounding establishments, with most entrees under $10. The order-at-the-counter style cafe (think Urth Caffe) is expected to seat 65 people.

Freshly baked breads are being delivered from Homeboy Industries, a company with which Park and Coe are very involved: Coe volunteered there for about a year, while Park found the baker and cook for Homegirl Cafe. Homeboy Industries' bread “went from pre-mixed to high-end artisanal bread like we did at Comme Ça,” said Park. A few employees for Black Cat will also be plucked from the company, whose motto is “jobs not jails.”

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