Multiculturalism helps to make L.A.’s food scene special. In Valley Glen, right near North Hollywood’s Thai hotbed, Hungry Fox is an enduring diner (and reminder) of that fact.
A Jewish couple opened the restaurant in the 50s, Greeks ran the show for 17 years, and a Thai native named Eddie Kantayos has run Hungry Fox for the past 12 years. Very little has changed over the years, other than the occasional menu tweak, more modern chandeliers, and a fresh coat of paint. The façade was previously sea blue and touted a Mykonos mural under the Greek regime, and now appears pastel green.
Regulars still plop down on stools at the low-slung counter and slide into worn tan booths. Susie, a Thai-American server, self-described “entertainer,” and food show junkie, has helped to run the front of house for the past two decades, and does a great job of keeping the vibe fun and light, like the decor.
The corner restaurant fronts a street of auto repair and machine shops and promises “happiness you can eat.” The logo involves a hungry fox holding silverware at the ready. Some dishes definitely require tapping into some kind of inner beast mode. Or better yet, feast mode.
A server wore a T-shirt that advertised the “second best chicken & waffles.” I asked Susie, “If Hungry Fox makes the second best chicken & waffles, who makes the best chicken & waffles?” She said, matter-of-fact, “Your mother.”
But The Hungry Fox’s Best Fried Chicken & Waffles ($14.99) far outpaces anything dear old Mom could produce. A half chicken, four juicy pieces with thin, crackly crusts, pair with twin Belgian waffles. Airy rectangles with lacy edges are dusted with powdered sugar and served with molten butter. Susie handed me a pitcher of “secret sauce” (sweet chile) to team with the chicken. For the waffle (or toast) each table hosts a caddy of well balanced, house-made jams like strawberry, pumpkin, and peach.
“The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” is a famous sentence that includes every letter in the alphabet. In this case, the fox couldn’t possibly leap after eating this plate.
Breakfast burritos are on most L.A. morning menus at this point, but the Hungry Fox’s rolled wonders ($9.29 - 9.99) hold some surprises. Scrambled eggs, big chunks of skin-on potatoes, and molten Cheddar & Jack cheeses join a choice of meat. Sure, there’s the typical bacon, sausage, or ham, but the Hungry Fox serves less standard options like beef gyros, corned beef hash, and better yet, Thai sausage. They make pork sausage on-site, loaded with plenty of lemongrass and served in thick quarter-sized cuts. Spoon on salsa made with Thai chilies and plenty of cilantro.
Country fried steak ($12.99) sports a crisp crust, contains a juicy beef core, and comes blanketed in peppery gravy that firms up if you let the dish rest. Each plate comes with two eggs (any style), buttered toast, and roasted skin-on potato cubes.
Spinach & feta cheese omelette ($11.29) may be a holdover from the days when the Hungry Fox had Greek owners. A thin omelette with many folds comes topped with a savory dollop of feta. Each omelette (in our case, under-seasoned) comes with a choice of toast or Belgian waffle. Fold waffle around the omelette for a kind of Instagram-age spanakopita. Or don’t. On second thought, just don’t.
Classic Turkey Club ($11.59) is a triple-decker sandwich that’s more popular at lunch, but available at breakfast. The basic classic stacks house-roasted turkey breast, bacon, crisp iceberg lettuce, and sliced tomato on a choice of bread. Sourdough is a good choice. Select from sides like French fries, cole slaw, fruit, sliced tomato, cottage cheese, or onion rings. Go with the onion rings, which are crispy and substantial without being greasy. One can also order a “Junior” that isn’t triple-decker.
Hungry Fox’s sprawling menu also extends to salads, sandwiches, burgers, and entrees. They also sell breakfast wraps, but why would anybody order that when a Thai sausage breakfast burrito is in the building? Aren’t wraps just dry, bland burritos?
The owner even named a sandwich for himself, a grilled Eddie sandwich with fried eggs, ham, sautéed spinach and mushrooms, melted Swiss cheese, and avocado. This is the only place on the menu where “Yummy!!” appears in red print. Clearly he’s quite proud.
Hungry Fox, 13359 Sherman Way, Valley Glen, 818-765-7111