Isn’t it great when the foods that you are craving most happen to be right next to your train station? For this reason –and because Metro is about to celebrate the first anniversary of the K Line this October 7 –– we want to tell you about five places you can easily visit when you’re riding this train.
The K Line serves the communities of West Adams, Jefferson Park, Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, Hyde Park, Inglewood, Westchester and more. The diverse cultures that have made these neighborhoods their home have created a distinctive food scene that’s unlike anything else in LA. Keep reading to learn about these businesses’ histories, how to reach them, and what to order when you get there.
Earle’s on Crenshaw
If you take the K Line to Expo/Crenshaw station, you will find Earle’s on Crenshaw, a restaurant that specializes in selling hot dogs made of chicken, beef, and turkey. The place also has Jamaican patties and potatoes with meat and chili, a nod to the owners’ Caribbean heritage. If you are vegan, don’t worry; there are plenty of sweet and savory options on the menu for you too.
The brothers Duane and Cary Earle, started in the 1980s after Cary got inspired by the hotdog carts on Venice Beach. They then started selling their food out of the parking lot of a flea market for almost eight years, which helped them get the word out and build a solid customer base. In 1992, they fulfilled their dream of opening their first location on Crenshaw Boulevard. In 2017 they moved to the current location, where they expanded the service and now even offer catering.
“We have been in the community for almost 40 years. We work with schools and local and state agencies… We are not just a business, we are committed to the community,” Duane says. And they have demonstrated it, too. During the pandemic, the brothers distributed food to the community and donated protective equipment (PPE) to local hospitals.
A year after the trains to South LA started running again after a hiatus of almost 60 years, Duane recognizes that the K Line has been a huge benefit to his employees. “Several of them use the train to come to work, go to school and return home,” he said. “Local people and people from various communities also come from all over to try our famous hot dogs.”
As soon as you enter this place, you will feel a cozy atmosphere and even more so if you meet Hildred Earle, the owner’s mother and whom many affectionately call ‘Mama Earle’. Note that you can also order a bowl of meat with chili and even a salmon burger. And please don’t leave without trying the banana pudding or the peach cobbler!
Earle’s on Crenshaw is located at 3864 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90008 and is open Monday through Saturday from 10:30 am to 9:00 pm.
All Chill Hip Hop Ice Cream Shop
Room for dessert? Don’t miss All Chill Hip Hop Ice Cream Shop, which is just a block and a half from Leimert Park station. The ice cream parlor, which uses organic products, has flavors for everyone, including vegans and lovers of sorbet.
You can choose from several flavors –– from honey lavender to vanilla rose to triple chocolate crunch to the vegan cookies & cream that is a favorite among customers. I tried it and let me tell you, it is pure joy for the heart.
Genelle and Julian Petty opened their business during the pandemic. “The weather in LA is warm, the taste for ice cream is universal, and that makes the business recession-proof,” says Genelle. She loves ice cream and Julian has a wide collection of hip hop-related items, so they decided to combine their love for sweets and music to open their store.
The store features hip hop memorabilia. When you visit them, you will be able to see books, photographs, jackets, action figures and more.
Genelle says that since the K Line opened, she has noticed that some of her employees take the train to get to work and that it’s even been helpful to people who live in Leimert Park but find the ice cream shop too far to walk. “Some customers coming from USC use the E Line and then connect to the K Line [at the Expo/Crenshaw station] to get here,” she notes. “Transportation has made it easier for people to get to us.”
For All Chill it is also important to be able to reach the community. In addition to catering, they also hold educational events in parks and schools where children learn about science while having fun making ice cream.
“Our business is built on cream, culture and community,” says Genelle. Part of the motivation for opening in Leimert Park, she explains, was to celebrate her culture while creating a safe space for people who have lived there for a long time. Genelle’s family has been in the area for four generations. “That’s why is important for us to plant roots in our communities.”
All Chill is located at 3415 W 43rd Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90008 and is open Thursday through Sunday from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Another option just steps from Leimert Park station is Taco Mell. Jermelle Henderson has always liked tacos. When he was little, he used to make his own style with turkey and beans at home. When he was older, he tried some carne asada tacos and it was love at first ‘bite’. “Tacos are one of the most popular foods in Los Angeles and you can make them fast,” he says.
With that in mind, he began selling tacos from a cart and years later opened his business on Crenshaw Boulevard. “It took me years to come up with a good-tasting recipe, but here we are,” adds Jermelle. Today, one of their star dishes is the protein-packed Three Meat Burrito, a chicken, beef, and shrimp burrito. You can also get tacos with the type of meat you want or pick the ‘Taco BRC’, a vegetarian option that includes a choice of pinto or black beans-, rice, and cheese. Nachos and quesadillas are also part of the menu, and you can choose from at least four types of sauce if you want a touch of spiciness.
Taco Mell is at 4326 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90008 and is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Fiesta Martin Bar & Grill
Just across of Downtown Inglewood station there are three great spots for Mexican food all owned by the same family. However, each business has a different concept, which means that there is something for every taste.
One of them is Fiesta Martin Bar and Grill, the first restaurant that Christian Martin and his family opened in 2009. Its atmosphere is traditional, with bright colors and ‘papel picado’. The signature dish is the ‘molcajete’, which has carne asada, chicken, chorizo, shrimp, cheese, rice and beans. Another favorite is the fajitas. You can also find tacos, burritos, enchiladas, broths and of course, margaritas. There is also a bar equipped with televisions so you can watch sports accompanied by a beer or a good tequila.
Right next door is Antojitos Martin. If you want something sweet, then this is the place to go. “Here we make natural juices, ‘aguas frescas’, ‘paletas’ (popsicles), crepes, ‘elotes’ (corn), strawberries with cream and even acaí bowls, Christian says “It’s like a mini market.”
And finally, about a five-minute walk from the station on La Brea, is Martin’s Cocina y Cantina, the newest of the three restaurants. Decorated with elegant chandeliers without forgetting the Mexican touch, you can find Mexican fusion food, sushi, lobster, and a good filet mignon.
“The idea of having several concepts is to create spaces where people feel comfortable,” says Christian. When asked why all the businesses are in Inglewood, he says “Because our roots are here.” When his parents arrived in Los Angeles from Mexico, they bought their first house in Inglewood in 1981 and had five children. In 2009 they opened Fiesta Martin Bar & Grill just blocks from their home.
Christian is amazed at how much Inglewood has grown in the last few years. “It happened very fast. Before there was nothing and now, we’ve had the Super Bowl and Wrestlemania.” This growth has spurred the construction of new infrastructure, including transportation.
“We see people traveling on the train to get to events, we saw it weeks ago with the Taylor Swift concert… People not only stop at our business, but having a station so close helps expose our brand.”
For Christian, having a nearby train stop is important. “Big events like the World Cup and the Olympics are coming and we know that soon there will be stations to connect with LAX… People will be able to make connections and we will be exposed to many more people. “We are very happy with the K Line… For us it means a lot, it will benefit us with the people who are going to come to Inglewood.”
- Fiesta Martin Bar and Grill is at 300 E Florence Ave, Inglewood, CA 90301.
- Antojitos Martin is located at 310 E Florence Ave, Inglewood, CA 90301.
- Martin’s Cocina y Cantina is at 162 N La Brea Ave, Inglewood, CA 90301.
Halal Kabob house
In the southernmost part of the K Line is Halal Kabob House, located a block away from Westchester/Veterans station. The restaurant specializes in Indian, Pakistani, and Mediterranean food, and its menu has more than 90 dishes.
Tanvir Hossain, owner of the place, says that his customers love the Chicken makhani, boneless chicken marinated in barbecue sauce that is cooked in the oven; the Beef paya, lamb shanks cooked over slow heat with spices; and the Lamb special, a combination platter of lamb, chicken curry, vegetables, rice, a spinach and chickpea stew and naan. This last dish is a little spicy, but delicious!
Tanvir says that having the K Line station nearby is convenient. “People look for public transportation because gas is expensive, the train helps people move easily in the area and it is an opportunity for people from other communities to visit my business,” he says. “I found out that next year Metro will open new stations to connect to LAX. That gives me a lot of excitement.”
Halal Kabob House, located at 1117 W Manchester Blvd suite g, Inglewood, CA 90301, is open every day of the year – even Christmas. It is open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm, except on Thursdays when it opens at 11:00 am.