The third iteration of Great White, an all-day café in West Hollywood, recently debuted on the once quiet end of Melrose, joining Verve Coffee Roasters next door. On the site of an old laundromat, the café’s interior is reminiscent of Santa Fe architecture. Be warned: parking is a challenge in this neighborhood, and deep breathing is recommended as you circle blocks.
Owners Sam Trude and Sam Cooper founded their Great White mini-chain (now in three locations) in 2017, inspired by a charming mix of Australian-style all-day cafes, coupled with California’s produce-driven cuisine. No, this is not another vegan restaurant, just healthy and fresh; there’s meat and fish for the vegetable averse. Really, though, something green wouldn’t kill you.
On a recent afternoon visit, the cafe was already bustling with neighborhood merchants, shoppers, and foodies eager to try the newest eatery. The Breakfast Burrito ($18) has already gained a following, though we were looking for lunch, so we’ll try that another time. The Citrus & Burrata ($22) is memorable, despite similar iterations around town. The orange slices are a bright counterpoint to the rich cheese.
Our friendly waiter told us not to miss the pizza, so we took his advice and scarfed down the Wild Prosciutto ($28) with arugula, mozzarella and aged balsamic. We took leftovers home and it stood up well the next day; a sure sign of a quality crust. The combination of lettuces with market fruits, avocado and cucumber with champagne vinaigrette in the Market Chop Salad ($20) even pleased the salad dressing expert, not easy to do.
Great White’s owners want their restaurants to be more than a café. “We like to explore all forms of creativity,” says co-founder, Sam Cooper. “We curate the spaces from music to flowers, including art.” They have collaborated with LA-based artist, Randy Perez, who first designed the label for their wine, Horse With No Name. Now Perez has created art for pizza boxes, labels and menus—even the restaurants’ ball caps.
“As an artist, you get requests to work on mostly typical things: commissions, brand graphics, group shows,” says Perez. When Great White reached out to the artist he felt he couldn’t pass up “bringing art to a space outside the standard canvas.” Owners Trude and Cooper can’t agree more and intend on collaborating with more artists in the coming months.
8917 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood
8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday
8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Walk-ins only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Reservations after 4 p.m.
Other locations: Larchmont and Venice Beach
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