photo credit: Jessie Clapp
Bub & Grandma’s
If you’ve ever ordered anything bread-related from a place in LA with cutesy menu fonts and small-batch coffee, chances are you're familiar with Bub & Grandma's. The loaves from this wholesale bakery have a rightfully devout following—from weekly lines at the farmers market filled with people waiting for subtly tangy sesame loaves to a client list of over 100 restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops stretching from Pasadena to Venice. Bub & Grandma’s is everywhere. But they've never had a dedicated epicenter for serving other items beyond bread, until now.
The Bub & Grandma’s cafe in Glassell Park is an homage to the early-morning American diner, complete with cushy white booths and a wrap-around bar looking into the kitchen. Open from 8am-4pm, it’s a great place to grab some pastries, a sandwich, and a quick cup of coffee while mentally preparing for the day ahead.
But a distinct changeover occurs at 11am, when breakfast transitions into lunch. This means two separate menus and—in a play ripped right from the McDonald’s handbook—once breakfast is over, it’s over (no matter how nicely you ask the cashier at the counter). That leaves everybody with a big choice, one we’re happy to assist with: go for breakfast.
The early morning hours are when Bub & Grandma’s is at its best. Lines at the order-at-the-counter space are short, fragrant plumes of that fresh bread smell waft from the ovens, and the daily pastry case is stocked and ready to be raided. It’s also when you’re able to order the breakfast sandwich—our favorite thing on the menu and absolutely one of the best versions we’ve eaten in LA. There’s not much to the sandwich—just some eggs, a slice of American, mayo, and ketchup on a plump kaiser roll—but it’s a simple case of fresh, well-executed ingredients layered in perfect ratios. We can’t speak for everyone, but sitting at B&G’s white marble counter with that sandwich, a plate of pastries, and a warm loaf of bread wrapped for the ride home is the only way we like being seen in public at 8am.
This isn’t to say lunch should be avoided, of course. If post-11am is when you can get to Bub & Grandma’s, you’ll be treated to an expanded menu of 10 or so sandwiches (including some excellent vegetarian options), various sides, and a chunky potato salad we’d go to battle to protect. The place also becomes more lively (read: more crowded) around lunch, so we recommend skipping the line inside and ordering from the takeout window instead. Here you’ll get the same exact menu, but the food comes out faster, and there are plenty of tables on the sidewalk.
Now, if you’re one of those people who base their personality on spreadsheets or are particularly good at raking in airline points, you’re probably already scheming a way to get both breakfast and lunch in one sitting. We’re here to tell you it’s possible—and pretty easy. Arrive at 10:30am, order breakfast inside, wait for 11am, and then swing by the takeout window on your way out for all the to-go sandwiches you want. Will you probably just eat them once you get to the car? We sure have, but that’s just our way of gearing up for the day.
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This is a perfect breakfast sandwich and proof that you don’t need to add a bunch of sauces and meats to make one remarkable. Sure, you can add bacon and chorizo if you want, but for us, this sandwich works best in its simplest form: plump, pillowy eggs, American cheese, mayo, and ketchup, all on a soft kaiser bun. If we’re driving across town to eat at B&G’s, it’s for this.
Pastries And Baked Goods
One of the main reasons we love coming to B&G’s for breakfast is the pastry case is fully stocked. That means all the almond cake, croissants, and blueberry donuts are still ripe for the taking. And yes, we recommend stockpiling.
Hot take: A good tuna salad should include plenty of mustard, and in that metric, B&G hits it out of the park. The one here is a very simple version—tuna, mayo, mustard, onion, and pickles—with a beautiful, inch-high wall of crispy iceberg lettuce. This is our favorite lunchtime sandwich.
B&G’s has a few excellent vegetarian sandwiches on the menu, but our favorite is the antipasti. It comes layered with marinated mushrooms, artichokes, burrata, pickled fennel, and tomato pesto. This is a hefty sandwich and one we actually like to save for later, allowing all the juices and spreads to marinate into the sub.
Have we driven here solely for this potato salad? No, but we’ve thought about it. And so should you.
This isn’t one of those giant Italian sandwiches that forces you into a half-day food nap, and that’s why we like it. All the familiar faces are there—mortadella, capicola, salami, provolone, giardiniera—but just in manageable quantities.