Executive Briefing

Why every new restaurant feels like an old diner

What’s behind the lunch-counter renaissance? Nostalgia, but also a desire to do the simple things well.

Bub & Grandma's
Bub & Grandma's / Screenshot

Contributor (also: my wife!) Lauren Sherman writes:

While writing and researching my book about Victoria’s Secret, I’ve spent a lot of time working from Dan’s studio space in Glassell Park, a four-minute walk from Bub & Grandma’s, a modern take on the luncheonette or diner with a flat-top grill, swivel stools at the counter, and gleaming white booths.

Bub & Grandma’s is well-known in Los Angeles as a fast-growing wholesale bread maker: Since 2015, they’ve provided seedy sourdough, focaccia, and other tangy loaves to top restaurants including Mozza, Dune, and Sqirl, and are stocked in specialty food stores for people with means, including Cookbook (previously featured here) and Lady & Larder.

For my money, it’s the best bread in Los Angeles — I prefer it over Gjusta and Clark Street, although those are very good, too — and the restaurant lives up to the hype: Delicious sandwiches and salads made with quality ingredients, served simply.

The Bub & Grandma’s restaurant is as close to a sensation as a restaurant like this can get without an appearance on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, with a line snaking out the door and loaves sold out by mid-morning. “The doors blew off the place,” owner Andy Kadin recently told me of the September 2022 opening, outpacing early sales projections by 30%.

Bub & Grandma’s is just one of many diner-inspired restaurants to open in recent years. Also in Los Angeles, Clark Street Bakery took over the lease for Hollywood’s famed 101 Diner, which closed in 2020, and re-opened the space a year later, with a menu full of diner classics (made with high-quality ingredients) and a gorgeous pastry case.

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Dan Frommer

Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

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