At first, Spoke Bicycle Cafe was a simple operation: A small bike shop and stand selling coffee and juice for folks walking and cycling along the L.A. River at its prettiest stretch through Frogtown. But eventually, owners Laurie Winston and Richard Latronica realized it could be much more. So they closed up shop and launched an ambitious expansion that has transformed the cafe into a full-scale restaurant. After a week being soft-open, the new version of Spoke Bicycle Cafe has its official opening May 23.
The new menu, which includes breakfast, lunch and early dinner options, is from chef Laura Parsley-Gonzales, who used to work at Kitchen Mouse in Highland Park. It includes sweet and savory breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, bowls and sides. Everything is priced fairly reasonably, from $6 to $14.50. You can see the full introductory menu below.
There's a 100 percent local beer list, and a short wine list. There's also a cider kombucha spritzer, presumably so New Yorkers who come here have something to make fun of. (L.A. so L.A.!)
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In terms of the space, the large patio that fronts the river's bike path is undoubtedly the most important feature, and there will be live music there on the weekends. It's an order-at-the-counter operation, with seating at communal and individual tables, some of them with custom-made banquettes with slats that allow bikes to be parked in the furniture. Spoke Bike Shop and bike rental is located at the far end of the patio, manned by bike expert Dane Larson.
This month, the restaurant will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. I'm told we can expect later dinner hours sometime in the coming weeks.
Spoke Bicycle Café, 3050 N Coolidge Ave. Frogtown. (323) 684-1130, spokebicyclecafe.com.