Catalina Connection

Culinary treats aplenty in Avalon

DineIf you decide to leave your boat and head into Avalon for a bite to eat you will find plenty of places to enjoy a good meal.

During The Log’s last visit to Avalon we told you of restaurants such as Mr. Ming’s, Steve’s Steakhouse, Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co., Maggie’s Blue Rose, Bluewater Grill and Catalina Cantina.

This time around The Log visited Luau Larry’s, Mt. Ada and Ben’s Bakery.

Luau Larry’s

Luau Larry’s, as the name implies, leaves no stone unturned in boasting an island theme throughout the restaurant – think Islands restaurant on the mainland.

The fare offered at Luau Larry’s is standard Americana – salads, sandwiches, French fries, sodas, beers and the like. In keeping with the Catalina theme we tried the Buffalo burger with French fries. The serving size was large enough to satisfy just about any diner. The wait staff certainly makes an effort to ensure you’re serviced. Since Luau Larry’s is on the boardwalk there is plenty of activity just outside.

Luau Larry’s is a casual dining affair ideal for families, friends and large groups (there was a bridal party, family of four and a handful of 20-something and 30-something bar patrons).

Expect to drop $15 to $20 per person for lunch.

Ben’s Bakery

The closest thing Avalon has to an indoor mall is the Atwater Arcade, which is home to the U.S. Post Office, a retail clothing shop, hardware store and the casual grab-and-go Ben’s Bakery.

Ben’s Bakery is a café serving blended drinks, cakes and coffee.Parimal M. Rohit photo
Ben’s Bakery is a café serving blended drinks, cakes and coffee.Parimal M. Rohit photo

This café serves blended drinks, cakes, coffee, fresh-made sandwiches, pastries, salads, smoothies and soups. Think of Ben’s Bakery as Starbucks meets Jamba Juice and then infused with Avalon’s intricate nuances. Conspicuously placed on the bakery’s wall is an image of a seal, followed by a narrative tale of Old Ben’s significance to Avalon.

Ben’s Bakery is best known for its desserts. We tried a slice of cheesecake and had a mint green tea. The cheesecake wasn’t too sweet and the portion size was a couple notches above modest – this isn’t a bad thing – while sipping the mint green tea comes with a few layers of serenity.

Quite the popular destination, Ben’s Bakery can have long lines (especially during morning hours). Be sure to get there at a good time, as well, since Ben’s Bakery closes at 5 p.m. daily.

Mt. Ada

If Ben’s Bakery is grab-and-go and Luau Larry’s is casual then Mt. Ada is dining at its finest.

Mt. Ada is the hilltop house built by William Wrigley Jr. The house is named after Wrigley’s wife, Ada. It is the highest place within Avalon (about 400 feet above sea level) and can be seen from many locations within the city. The former Wrigley residence is now a six-bedroom bed-and-breakfast and features a dining room with perhaps the best views of Avalon and the harbor.

An open-faced buffalo burger with salad is one of a few dishes available to the public during lunch at Mt. Ada.Parimal M. Rohit photo
An open-faced buffalo burger with salad is one of a few dishes available to the public during lunch at Mt. Ada.Parimal M. Rohit photo

The inn’s dining room is open to the public for lunch from noon-2 p.m.; diners must make a reservation in advance. Lunch is $30 per person and includes a modest selection of sandwiches and salads, plus choice of soda, juice or iced tea.

This reporter had a Buffalo burger again, except this time served open face (no bread) and with a salad instead of French fries. The burger was served medium with a green chili on top to give it some extra kick and personality.

Mt. Ada is located at 398 Wrigley Road.

Scoops Ice Cream

There are a few dessert destinations in Avalon, such as Big Olaf’s or Catalina Cookie and Coffee Co. Crowding the field is Scoops Ice Cream, which is open late (lights out at 10 p.m.) and serves sweet-tooth-satisfying items such as Oreo Cookies and Cream ice cream, Salted Pretzel or Wild Berry Cheesecake gelato, and Starbucks Coffee.

Scoops Ice Cream boasts making its desserts from scratch and using locally sourced fruits and berries. The ice cream shop is on the Crescent boardwalk, located next to Latitude 33 and across from the Green Pleasure Pier.

Boat and Breakfast

Boaters who prefer breakfast on their boat without the hassle of cooking (or going to shore) can simply hail the Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co. on VHF Ch. 6 and have their breakfast delivered directly to their vessel.

Gene Eubank, owner of Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co., operates his boat and breakfast service daily from April-November. Keep your eyes open for the small boat cruising the harbor with a blue “Coffee and Breakfast” flag.

Pre-order a turkey sausage or bacon breakfast burrito the night before or contact the boat directly between 7 a.m.-10 a.m. on VHF Ch. 6; boaters can also call 310-510-2447 for more information.

Other Recommendations

Also be sure to try The Lobster Trap, Coney Island West, Mi Casita, Coyote Joe’s, Original Jack’s Country Kitchen, Original Antonio’s Pizzeria and Katie’s Kitchen.

Parimal M. Rohit photo

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