Melrose Place should maybe consider a name change to Blogger’s Place. Every person with a laptop and 15,000 followers on Instagram is here every day. They’re gramming their ‘But First, Coffee’ cups at Alfred, posing for photos outside the ivy-covered buildings, and banging out a post on The 10 Best Ways To Wear Chokers This Summer.
What Melrose Place didn’t have for a long time? Anything resembling decent food. We’re not 17-years-old and dining out on our parents’ credit cards, so Fig & Olive isn’t an option. Alfred stocks annoyingly named vegan, gluten-free sandwiches, and Sack Sandwiches (formally known as ink.sack) isn’t technically even on the street itself. But somewhat hidden away behind this short stretch of West Hollywood is Croft Alley: the very definition of a hidden gem.
See those stairs next to Alfred? Take those, follow the hallway and then go down the stairs on the left, into a sunken indoor courtyard. Croft Alley is through a door that takes you into a tiny space, with a tinier kitchen. It all feels kind of like you’re eating in someone’s very stylish house.
photo credit: Benji Dell
Breakfast and lunch are what you’re here for (although we hear their catered dinners can be pretty spectacular), and the sandwiches are the stars. Most are spins on the classics, like the cauliflower grilled cheese, slightly spicy egg salad, and the simple but great turkey banh mi. On Wednesdays they whip up a big batch of pho that’s definitely worth making a trip for. There are healthy things too, if that’s your thing (you’re on Melrose Place, so it’s probably your thing). They make their own yogurt, and you can get your egg salad wrapped in lettuce when carbs are the enemy. You should make an exception for the triple chocolate cookies even if they are.
While Croft Alley seems like it was designed with the perfectly filtered Instagram shot in mind, the food tastes as good as it looks, and there’s no attitude here at all. You might end up sitting next to a couple of food bloggers discussing how to best optimize their feed, but the staff will probably take pity on you and bring you a cookie to make up for it.
Which is a pretty great way to describe Croft Alley - like a cookie that makes up for the rest of Melrose Place.
Yogurt With Chlorophyll
They make this yogurt in-house and once you’ve had it, Yoplait just ain’t going to cut it. Creamy and delicious, but still (probably) good for you.
Turkey Sausage Banh Mi
One of two sandwiches at Croft that we regularly think about. Not the overstuffed banh mi you normally encounter, it’s a simple baguette minimally filled with turkey sausage, cucumber, cilantro, chili and some magical mayo.
Cauliflower Grilled Cheese
The other sandwich we fantasize about, but only get when we’re feeling brave. So rich, so filling, so worth the 5-mile run you’ll need to do later.
A salad for those who don’t do salad, there’s just the right amount of greens in here (ie. not that much), and way more vermicelli noodles, pickled carrots, and crispy shallots. The coconut dressing makes this thing.
We never say no to buratta, and this guy is no exception. Ask for extra bread, you will need it for all those leftover juices.