In the past few months, Chimney Coffee in Chinatown has become a local Instagram star. Much has been made of the power of the photo app to create trends and make restaurants popular, and it has proven true in Chimney's case: All the right people are going there, posting photos of their larb burgers and inspiring the masses.
The restaurant isn't new; it has been serving its fusion menu for about two years now. The alchemy that led to its pop in popularity right now is mysterious, but we're glad people are heading there in bigger numbers.
The menu includes salads, grain bowls, waffles and pancakes and a number of pastries, both baked in-house and sourced from a local purveyor. There is also a big, expensive coffee and tea section, offering drinks from hibiscus tea lemonade to Thai tea lattes to cappuccinos.
But the stars of the show are the breakfast and lunch sandwiches — an unnecessary distinction, given that the breakfast sandwiches are served all day.
The most popular is the B.A.E., with bacon, scrambled eggs, avocado, sriracha-yuzu mayo and a cheddar crisp, served on the "Hokkaido-style milk bun" on which almost all the sandwiches are served, save for the errant house-made focaccia sandwich.
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If you're looking for a new flavor combination, get something with sausage, such as the Rogue, with homemade truffle-sage pork sausage, eggs two ways and that cheese crisp and sriracha-yuzu mayo again. Or the larb burger, with a mint salad both on the bun and in the mayo.
Weirdly, the breakfast offerings are a little too sauced, while the lunch sandwiches could use another dollop or two. But they're very nearly perfection, all big savory messes with a hint of sweet and spice.
Chimney isn't so popular that you'll get stink-eye for camping out with your laptop (free Wi-Fi is another selling point). It might get there someday, though, so try to get there soon. Oh, but don't drink too much coffee. Chimney's is strong enough to keep you up for three days.
1100 N. Main St., Chinatown. (323) 343-0030, chimneycoffee.com.