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Cafe Birdie Offers Highland Park a True Neighborhood Bistro

Opening later this summer on Figueroa

Cafe Birdie, Highland Park
Cafe Birdie, Highland Park
Farley Elliott
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Things are shaping up for Cafe Birdie in Highland Park, the upcoming sophomore project from Horse Thief principals Wade McElroy and Russell Malixi. The multi-functional space sits just next to Civil Coffee on Figueroa, and across the street from cocktail newcomer ETA.

First announced back in October, the plan is for the Sally Breer-designed space to offer a bit of something for everybody. There will be loads of natural light from the front, plus all the usual things that go into making a restaurant beautiful these days: tile, tall ceilings, and an open layout that makes every seat feel like a part of the action.

An open layout that makes every seat feel like a part of the action

Up front there’s room at the long bar for lots of stools, while banquettes will wrap along the opposite walls. More seating will be situated right down the middle, and just about everyone in the dining room will have a clear look into the kitchen thanks to a tall glass window right at the corner.

That should give a fun, lively look into what chef/partner Joey Booterbaugh (The Hungry Cat) is up to with his California-Mediterranean menu, which will include everything from a section for toasts to some Moroccan-spiced fried chicken.

Head down the long hallway past the kitchen and you’ll arrive at a narrow open alleyway for some al fresco dining. It’s a more compact back patio situation, but carries all the brick-lined charm of a building born from the 1920’s.

Keep moving further and you’ll end up in what was at one point a former power substation of sorts for the block. It’s a standalone brick structure that will host its own entrance while also being accessible from the restaurant, and will be little more than a bar with some seating at the edges.

This space will work in conjunction with Booterbaugh’s kitchen, but will likely carry its own separate menu. Drinks are being developed and managed by the Courage & Craft team at both the front and back bar for Cafe Birdie.

Expect a mid-to-late summer opening for Cafe Birdie, as the restaurant continues to come together. There’s lots to be done with a building of this age, but the Friends & Family Hospitality team seem pretty up to the task — just like 1933 Group and their efforts at nearby Highland Park Bowl.

When Cafe Birdie arrives, expect dinner to start. Eventually the restaurant may move into brunch and lunch territory, and will maintain late night hours (including 2 a.m. on weekends).

Cafe Birdie
5631 Figueroa St.Los Angeles, CA