Fred 62, I Love You I Hate You I Love You

— by Caroline on Crack

Flickr Shot by 8mm

Flickr Shot by 8mm

After spending most of New Year’s Day lying prone, I thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk to get the blood circulating through my limbs again. I can’t very well start off the new year with atrophy. Since my first choice for an early evening promenade, Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, was closed and boring, strolling through Griffith Park on Vermont to the Greek Theatre to take in the beautiful houses with Christmas decorations still up sounded like the next best thing. The night was balmy and the walk invigorating so when I returned to Los Feliz Boulevard, I continued on down to grab a bite at Fred 62.

Fred 62 diner is one of those places that I have a love-hate relationship with. After my last visit, we were on the outs. I had a bad experience where the waitress forgot to place my party of three’s order and even after we waited an hour she didn’t try to make amends or anything. So it’s been years since I’ve returned. Sometimes I can hold a grudge.

This time I decided to give Fred another chance because 1) it was New Year’s Day and most everything was closed and 2) I wanted something affordable within walking distance.

When we got there around 6ish, all the booths were taken which is just as well since I like sitting at the counter, especially after that last experience of being ignored. The cute, blonde waitress in the Fred 62 girl getup of short skirt and knee-highs came over to take our order. I noticed that she was flirty and attentive to my male friend but not so much me. Whatev.

After many minutes of perusing the extensive menu which ranged from Mexican to Thai to American diner, I settled on the Charles Bukowski grilled ham and cheese sandwich ($7.89). It wasn’t until I saw a neighboring table’s order of three big juicy-looking hamburgers that I regretted my decision.

I had also wanted to try out their red velvet cake aka “the best kept secret in Los Feliz” and perhaps a chocolate malt but wasn’t feeling all that hungry. Stupid stomach and its restrictions.

As we waited and waited for our food to arrive, I took in the newish-to-me surroundings. They used to have toasters located in each booth and those were gone now. And it seemed the waitstaff were allowed to have fun with their attire as some workers sported “Fred 62” t-shirts with customized messages on the back like “Rehab is for quitters” and “I’m Fred.”

Watching Fred 62’s clienetele was an effective way to distract me from my irritation of the long wait as there were interesting-looking characters all over: a tall, scary man with a black trench and long black beard who stood by the “Please Wait to Be Seated” sign unmoving and quiet; a cute tattooed waiter with rolled-up sleeves and a neck tat of what looked like a bar code; giggling young lesbians with punk dos pointing at pencil sketches of celebrities hanging on the walls.

By the time our food finally arrived, a line of customers started to collect at the door. I devoured my warm-ish sandwich, reliving childhood memories of my mom’s own grilled-ham-and-cheese afternoon snack. Fred’s version was OK and flavorless, but only Mom can get away with that. My accompanying fries weren’t all that great either, even after I added salt. I blame it on the lukewarm temperature of both dishes.

But my friend loved his Thai Cobb, the Thai version of the Cobb ($9.52). And after just sampling a piece of his chicken with the spicy dressing, I understood why. Not sure about noodles and lettuce though.

After we paid the bill and I sat at the counter waiting for my friend to return from the restroom, one of the young, hip couples waiting for a table asked if they could take my seat, no pressure. We chatted politely for a bit noting how the diner was really starting to pick up as Angelenos coming back from the holidays poured in looking for an open place to chow down.

And it was then that I decided Fred made up for its previous shortcomings. The diner just has a nice neighborhood feel with friendly customers and casual waitstaff. And its menu has such a diverse selection that perhaps there are some things it’ll get right and others not so much. In any case, I’ve decided that I have to come back for that red velvet cake.

1850 N Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, California 90027
(323) 667-0062