Nickel Diner is a food joint with a trendy, retro atmosphere populated with some hipsters and others who found their way to Skid Row and are afraid to go outside. One of these is not true… or not. I came here with a friend late one night, and didn’t realize how close it really was to Skid Row (btw, VERY close). As I walked from the parking meter to this spot. I realize that this place must be really good to garner so many positive reviews in such a sketchy part of town.
LOCATION: This place is on Main and Fifth Street, just south of Fifth. There is no parking, after all it’s Downtown LA. You’ll have to circle around and find a meter. I think they are free after 8pm, and luckily, Nickel Diner is open later than that.
FOOD: I ordered the Sloppy Veggie Jo, and my friend ordered the Soup of the Day. We noticed their awesome selection of non-standard bottled sodas, so we indulged ourselves with Mr. Q Cumber and Red Ribbon’s Almond Cream Soda. DUUUUDE, these drinks are INSANELY ADDICTING! The cucumber drink was very refreshing, and the almond cream explodes with an unexpected strong almond flavor, not just a hint.
The Sloppy Veggie Jo seemed like it was made of diced up portabello mushrooms. The sauce was slathered on top of what seemed like two sets of onion roll buns, and then topped with a side of onion rings. I had to eat the beast with a fork and knife! Messy, but worth it! I only had a taste of the soup, and I really don’t remember what was all in it, but it was good, just not memorable.
SERVICE: There were two waitresses at the time, and both of them were switching back and forth helping our table. Both of them had tats everywhere and reminded me of rockabilly girls for some reason. One had short hair, and seemed like she had an attitude but wasn’t rude. Never smiled or looked up at us. The other longer haired one was total opposite. She smile always greeted us, and was very attentive. It was like a good-cop-bad-cop thing. Although there was a huge contrast between the two wait staff, they both still provided satisfactory service.
OVERALL: Food was great, soft drinks were addicting. neighborhood was sketchy, and parking can be a pain. However I would make another journey to the area just to try more of their menu.