To earn access to one of LA's best breakfast burritos, first you’ve got to park in Downtown's Civic Center. The Grand Park edge of Downtown is notoriously stingy with metered spaces, so expect to pay up handsomely at one of the few available lots. Then you’ll have to pass by the security officer sitting at the front of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration on Temple, escape down three flights (there’s an escalator for that) to the basement, then scurry about a hundred quiet, tile-clacking feet down a pale corridor to the cafeteria.
Once inside though, you can expect to eat like a sunrise king for $4 and some change. A well-kept secret amongst city workers, cops, and annoyed jury duty hostages, the inexpensive basement breakfast burrito at the Hall of Administration has become something of a fan favorite throughout the larger Civic Center complex. Its composition is a simple one:
— flour tortilla, slightly griddled
— one egg, scrambled softly — hash browns, lightly browned and offered minimally — melted shredded yellow cheese (the best)— bacon or sausage— salsa (green or red available)
It’s a classic lineup taken straight from the usual breakfast burrito playbook, but when combined together those ingredients form some sort of early morning synergy that’s hard to beat. Maybe it’s the terrible coffee you’re washing it down with or the worse lighting or the fact that you’re likely only in the Administration building because something has gone terribly wrong in your life. Whatever bit of civil servant magic has befallen this breakfast burrito, the damn thing works.
Whatever bit of civil servant magic has befallen this burrito, the damn thing works.
It’s important to note here that your $4 won’t get you an overstuffed, over-potato’d monstrosity like at some other cheap spot around Los Angeles. And that’s actually a good thing. The morning men wandering the Administration building halls in Jos A. Bank suits don’t want that sort of starchy weight dragging them down all day, and it’s never a good idea for jurors and cops to nod off in the middle of a shift. No, this burrito is perfectly portioned to fill you up for less than a fiver, without putting you flat on your back.
And lest you scream about one key missing ingredient or another — avocado, say, or beans — just know that you can customize your breakfast burrito to your heart’s content. Beans are $1.35 extra, avocado a slight 85 cents. You can double or triple your salsa needs, omit potatoes altogether as requested, or stack your breakfast burrito with bacon and sausage. Here in this land of red tape and form-filling, you can check as many choose-your-own-adventure boxes as you’d like.
That’s not to say your eggs will be free-range, your cheese handspun, or whatever. No, this is a working man’s burrito, meant to satisfy while collar municipal workers and Grand Park landscapers alike. You won’t get ambiance, either, but that largely misses the point. There are plenty of places to load up on the sunlight, hand-pick your house made breakfast sausage, and pay $12 for the pleasure. At the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, it’s all about efficiency. Just ask the bureaucrats.
Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 W. Temple
Los Angeles, CA
Breakfast runs 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. weekdays