I lived in the San Fernando Valley for nearly 40 years. Two years ago, I married a Gal from my Hometown, Youngstown, Ohio. I introduce LuAnn as ‘My First Wife’ … because she is! People are surprised, as we were, that we found each other… especially when they hear that LuAnn was living in Cleveland, and I recognized her name from a post on a mutual friend’s Facebook page. Eight months later, we went from, “Are You?…” to “I Do.”
Last year we had an opportunity to move from L.A. to Cleveland, and we did! Teenagers, upon hearing that I left Southern California are incredulous—as if, “Dude, How could you leave Disneyland … like, at Noon?!!!’ Adults ask, “Do you miss California?” Mainly, we miss our Friends—and we call them, often—with plans to visit. The other thing we miss, is favorite Haunts; Restaurants & Bars—whose Quality of Food, Personnel and atmosphere, made them an extension of that feeling which can be described by the word, Home.
One such place is Nat’s Early Bite, in Sherman Oaks. I took our Dear Friends—your esteemed Publisher, Peter Bennett, and his lovely wife, Colleen to “Nat’s” about four years ago. They “Got” the place immediately, and have mentioned their visit several times since. In fact, Peter asked me to write this piece—inspired by the idea that Nat’s would be an ideal destination for a Day Trip from La Verne… and beyond!
Nat’s is a Diner, in the Best Sense of the classification. It has Booths, and Tables. There are Two Rooms, divided by a wall with large openings. The Staff is friendly, attentive, with a Coffee Pot at-the-ready for Refills! Just inside the front door is a long, comfortable Padded Banquette for Waiting. (Simply put Your Name on the Yellow Legal Pad at the Host Stand.) Chances are quite good that you will spot someone you know—from Life, or Television.
The Menu is a large, multipage number with just about ANYTHING your Taste Buds might crave. You may start with Freshly Squeezed (on the premises) Orange Juice. Traditional Breakfast Fare is served All Day—Pancakes, Waffles, Omelets, Eggs, Corned Beef Hash, Bacon … Plus, quite a list of Sausages (Patty, Link, Hot, Savory…)—as well as Soup, Salads, Sandwiches, and More. Note: There is always an extensive variety of Daily Specials—prominently displayed on Large Dry Erase Boards.
I am reliving my affection for Nat’s, just sharing my fond recollections. Thank you, dear reader, and Peter Bennett for the opportunity. I concur with Peter’s assessment that visiting Nat’s would be a worthy destination for a satisfying Day Trip from your location. I certainly look forward to a visit the next time I’m in from Cleveland. …See you at Nat’s!
For years, right next door to Nat’s was the Big Kid Collectable Toy Mall and Retro Store. It was a blast from the past and a great place to cruise the aisles while you waited your turn for breakfast. All under one roof, you could find Felix the Cat, Bob’s Big Boy, Betty Boop, Buck Rogers, Mr. Potato Head, erector sets, Star Wars collections, and, heaven knows, everything else from your childhood, whether you grew up in the 1950s or the ‘80s.
But alas, Big Kid grew up – a dispute with the landlord — and moved to a warehouse in Tarzana – all the toys and celebrity photos now but a distant memory – a strip mall stripped of an iconic tenant that people from the world over came to enjoy.
You can still capture some of the nostalgia online at www.bigkidcollectables.com, but it’s not quite the same — sort of like ordering pancakes without the syrup or eggs without the bacon or sausage.
At least, Nat’s survives, and here’s the location:
Nat’s Early Bite – Sherman Oaks
14115 Burbank Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA, 91401
Cross streets: Hazeltine and Burbank
Mon – Fri: 6am – 3pm
Sat: 6:30am – 4pm
Sun: 7:30am – 4pm
Coming from Los Angeles on the 101 North/West:
1) Exit the 101 at Woodman Ave
2) Take a Right onto Woodman Ave (heading North)
3) Take a Left onto Burbank Blvd (heading West)
4) Nat’s is on your right (the NW corner of Hazeltine Ave and Burbank Blvd)
Coming from the West Valley on the 101 South/East:
1) Exit the 101 at Van Nuys Blvd
2) Take a Left onto Van Nuys Blvd (heading North)
3) Take a Right onto Burbank Blvd (heading East)
4) Nat’s is on your left (the NW corner of Hazeltine Ave and Burbank Blvd)