I think my Ari and I may have found the best sandwich in Los Angeles on Slauson Avenue.
Just a few days ago, we traveled East and West on Slauson Avenue, crawling to find some of the best food in South LA. Last month we did a food crawl on Central Avenue that led to some surprising results. As with Central Avenue, we limited our search to two hearty meals and a delectable dessert. While we wish that we could try nearly every restaurant on the street, our meager budgets would never be that forgiving. So, instead, we listed some honorable mentions that we couldn’t afford to include, but we believe are still worth trying.
We took the 110 Freeway northbound and exited on Slauson Avenue, a major East and West Thoroughfare that held tons of heavy industry and manufacturers. For the majority of South LA, the north side of the street has no businesses, but, instead, a long stretch of unused train tracks. Going west, most of Slauson is home to few restaurants until we pass Nipsey Hussle Square on Crenshaw and Slauson. That’s when the restaurants become more frequent.
The first stop is Slauson Donuts, one of the most colorful storefronts on Slauson for miles. And their donuts are just as vibrant. There’s not much to say about donuts, because they’re always good. Ari got a crumb cake donut, while I stood with the basic glazed donuts. There was a small line of regular patrons when we arrived around 9:30 a.m. in the morning, which is always a good sign.
Next up, we traveled west on Slauson Avenue to the very edge of South LA to Mike’s Deli. This is where we found the best sandwich place in South LA, and maybe even LA itself. We pulled up to this non-assuming strip mall with a UPS store, but when we walked inside this restaurant, it was like another world.
The entrance and store is cavernous, with a wall lined with every popular drink that you can imagine. Reminiscent of Pink’s Hot Dog Stand, there’s another wall dedicated to signed photographs of celebrities who have visited the location. By the serving counter is a neat row of every chip imaginable that would pair well with a sandwich. And, above that, is the display case that holds their premium meats and cheeses.
For a moment, I felt like an omnipotent being that had the power to create any sandwich of my heart’s desire.
Ari had Mike’s Deli #1, a Cajun turkey with jalapenos, red onions, and a special sauce. I had yet another basic, but satisfying meal: A pastrami sandwich. We both enjoyed their bread selections, which are full of flavor and texture. I couldn’t dream of putting premium meat on anything else. Not even a low-carb, keto conscious tortilla in 2021.
So we initially had another restaurant nearby that we wanted to try. But it was kind of sketchy for reasons other than safety. Let’s just say, cleanliness.
So we headed eastbound, effectively going backward, to a restaurant that was originally on our Honorable Mention, Pollos Asados Al Carbon El Güero. This modest restaurant is cash only, but it’s worth every dollar that you plan to spend. And it’s easy to spend under $10 here for a filling plate.
Ari and I got a half chicken with beans, rice, and tortillas. It also comes with a hot baked potato with a garlic spread on top. I never knew I needed that in my life, but now I can’t live another day without it.
As a young boy, I used to pass this restaurant on my way to church before it was a restaurant. They grilled in an open space, but they eventually built up this restaurant, but kept the same authentic street flavor.
And of course, we have our honorable mentions on Slauson Avenue, including Mama’s Chicken, Hungry Harold’s, Pepper’s Jamaican Belizean Cuisine, and Fred’s Downhome Burger. Check out the Yelp links in the description below.
So there it is, Slauson Avenue’s finest dining in a nutshell. Do you have any recommendations for food in South LA? Leave them down below in the comments.