by Hiko Mitsuzuka
Chances are, if you've lived in L.A. long enough to grow tired of every trendy boutique eatery that opens up every other month and wins the attention of every foodie with a subscription to Los Angeles Magazine and Bon Appetit...then you'd probably enjoy the unabashed old-schoolness of Billingsley's on Pico Boulevard (right behind the Best Buy on Sawtelle).
We recently had the pleasure of experiencing one of the oldest dining establishments in L.A. Opened in 1946, Billingsley's has some classic Hollywood blood running through its veins; the family of Leave it to Beaver's Barbara Billingsley is its original founders, so you know this place has a lot of history packed within its windowless walls (if they could only talk).
Stepping inside is like taking a trip back to 1974, probably because that was the last time the restaurant was renovated since its ownership changed hands (and probably when much of its waitstaff had been hired). And that's a good thing. This is more than just a warm, welcoming place. It's a time capsule that deserves some respect.
The food is what you'd expect from a place that has stood the test of time and trends, a basic selection (basic in a good way) of old-fashioned meat-and-potato platters that proudly laugh in the face of all of those gluten-free, Paleo, and soy protein recipes that tend to populate the pages of menus across the city. As for the cocktails, they're under $10, which is a rarity within these city limits.
And now there are rumors saying that this Los Angeles staple is near extinction, which is sad, another example of a traditional, family-run establishment that is buckling under the pressure of a city constantly reinventing itself and obsessed with the new.
Say it isn't so.
Don't let the unpaved parking lot and rusted sign outside fool you (pardon the dust from the newly constructed Metro line that hovers above the non-descript building). Billingsley's is still open for business (well, at least until 9:30pm) and serving up some culinary nostalgia.
We'll save you a seat in our booth.