‘The Hottest Neighborhood in the U.S.A.’

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By Christopher Odalis

For those of you who may have a distaste for Los Angeles, a chaotic, sprawling metropolis with no clear center, you are evidently not familiar with Eagle Rock, a beautiful, quiet L.A. neighborhood nestled between the cities of Glendale and Pasadena.  This is a community you will likely become acquainted with as it was recently ranked #2 among the top areas to live in the U.S. according to Redfin’s list of ‘Hottest Neighborhoods of 2014’ and as presented in ABC 7 Eyewitness News.  But considering that the neighborhood ranked as #1 was an obscure place in frigid San Francisco, the title truly goes to this Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock.  As longtime local residents will tell you, Eagle Rock, founded in 1911, is a hidden gem that has surprisingly kept much of its small town charm and appeal.  But unlike other small towns where you would need to drive forty-five minutes to get to the city, Eagle Rock is within one of the largest, most famous cities in the world.  Downtown LA and Hollywood are only a few minutes drive away.  Eagle Rock is a humble community, home to the renowned Occidental College, famous for being the alma mater of our current president.  For the past fifteen years, Eagle Rock (and more recently its neighbor Highland Park), have gradually become artistic communities attracting well-educated hipsters from all over the country.

Besides drawing in homebuyers and small business owners, both Eagle Rock and Highland Park’s unique and alluring small town vibe has caught the eye of the entertainment industry as well.  Scores of trucks containing crew, camera and lighting equipment are frequently seen outside local shops and restaurants on Colorado Boulevard, York Boulevard and Figueroa Street shooting scenes for television, film and video.  The latest project was a music video for Millennium’s new single ‘When We Walk in the Place.’

Interestingly, Sapphire of Millennium grew up in the area.  Although she moved away for college a few years ago and has lived in other areas, she eventually found her way back to Highland Park where she is currently living with her husband Stryker (also of Millennium) and their two year old daughter. ‘Highland Park and Eagle Rock have changed so much since I was a child and definitely for the better.  Some of the oldest places are still around like Troy’s, Ruby’s Bakery and All Star Lanes and now there are some awesome new places added to the mix.  My parents still live in the same house that I grew up in and they are only a few blocks away from us.  I always get a good feeling of nostalgia every time I drive around the neighborhood, whether it’s going over to see my folks, passing my old junior high, or seeing my old piano teacher’s house around the corner.  So in essence, some things have changed and some things haven’t.  Either way, this truly is home for me.’

According to Stryker, ‘I grew up in Peoria, Illinois, a small town with a population of 120,000.  When I moved to Los Angeles after college, I lived in Hollywood, Venice Beach and Beverly Hills which are all pretty densely populated areas. When our daughter was born and we decided to move closer to the grandparents, you can imagine my surprise to find that they lived in a community with a small-town feel, yet perched right in the middle of the city. That’s Eagle Rock. Everyone is so friendly everywhere we go, just like back in the Midwest.  It’s a great place to raise kids, but still situated close to key elements of the entertainment industry.’

If you are new to Los Angeles, visiting from out of town or entertaining guests, you will not regret spending time in Eagle Rock and checking out some of the amazing local restaurants, bars and cafes listed below.  See for yourself why this fast-growing hipster community was listed among the Hottest Neighborhoods of 2014 and why Eagle Rocks!

Maximiliano’s

An elegant lively atmosphere offering fine Italian cuisine as well as a fine selection of wines. For a true Italian delight, try the scrumptious Maximiliano spaghetti and meatballs. The pan roasted pork chop with sweet potato is also a good choice.  Finish off the meal with their dark chocolate cake and you have reached food heaven.  5930 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. 90042 |T: 323.739.6125 | www.maximilianohp.com

The York

“Your neighborly gastropub. It’s a real bar without being either a scene or a dive, a cafe with a frisson of night-life sensibility, a meeting place with pleasingly edgy design and appealing food — and a homey spot for regulars.” –Los Angeles Times.  5018 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. 90042 | T: 323.255.9675 | www.theyorkonyork.com

Highland Café

A great coffee shop serving Handsome Coffee that also boasts a tantalizing lunch menu.  Try the Chipotle fish tacos!  Outdoor seating is available to enjoy the beautiful LA weather all-year round.  Great place to post up and chat with a friend or catch up on some reading.  5010 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. 90042 | T: 323.259.1000 | www.thehighlandcafela.com

Camilo’s

A California bistro with a diverse menu using only the freshest ingredients.  The Camilo’s eggs benedict with fresh fruit is a must try.  Brunch served until 3 p.m.  2128 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. 90041 | T: 323.478.2644 | www.camilosbistro.com

Greyhound Bar & Grill

Recently opened, this neighborhood pub offers a fresh and hip atmosphere for locals with a great selection of craft beer, Old World wine and spirits. For a great deal, visit during happy hour, 4-7 PM and try their delicious gourmet burger with some refreshing Schlitz!    5570 Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA. 90042 | T: 323.900.0300 | www.the-greyhound.com

Donut Friend

Forget everything you know about a donut.  This bakery makes delicious, fresh and creative donuts- made to your specifications or select from one of their delightful creations such as Chocolate From the Crypt. 5107 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA. 90042 | T: 323.995.6191 | www.donutfriend.com

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