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Iconic Neighborhood Restaurants: Monrovia

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The city of Monrovia is a special place. Somehow, it manages to retain a small-town feel. Just head down to Myrtle Street. It's a quaint and lovely place to live and walk around.

It's also steeped in American food history: Monrovia is the city where Patrick McDonald, years before his sons would establish their fast-food empire, opened the Airdrome in 1937 near the late Monrovia Airport. And though the original Airdrome is no longer around, a McDonald's has been put in its place.

Of course, there's more to eat here than just McDonald's. Here's a list of the city's most iconic restaurants:

Jim's Burgers | Photo credit: Chamber of Commerce
Jim's Burgers | Photo credit: Chamber of Commerce

Jim's Burgers: If you're craving burgers, Jim's is hands down, the neighborhood favorite. It's a classic burger shop with old-school prices. A quarter-pounder goes for $3.15 and comes with traditional fixings of tomato, lettuce, and onions. And if the burger isn't enough, the chili fries surely will be. The fries are what has propelled Jim's to local fame. I had the luck of going to high school near Jim's and during lunch time, the fries were all we ever wanted. 915 W Duarte Rd, Monrovia, CA 91016; (626) 447-5993.

 
Cafe LuMar: LuMar is the darling of Monrovia, serving out savory crepes and hearty portions of lamb shanks and beef kebobs. It's a Croatian eatery manned by Dragica Grabovac, who immigrated from former Yugoslavia. Though the restaurant opened fairly recently in 2012, it has quickly risen up the ranks as a local favorite. 136 E Colorado Blvd, Monrovia, CA 91016; (626) 357-2184.

Short Rib Bolognese | Photo by Bella Sera Trattoria
Short Rib Bolognese | Photo by Bella Sera Trattoria

Bella Sera Trattoria: Bella has been a Monrovia institution for over a decade and they do addictive plates of pasta in a sleek contemporary space. Pastas are made in-house, as are sausages. Located on Myrtle, Bella is the favorite date night spot in town. Suggestion: Get dinner here and finish the night off with movies at the Krikorian. 422 S Myrtle Ave, Monrovia, CA 91016; (626) 359-1399.

 

Le Roy's | Photo/Flickr/ThomasHawk
Le Roy's | Photo/Flickr/ThomasHawk

Le Roy's: This classic diner has been serving Monrovia since 1976. Located on the historic Route 66 (now along Huntington Drive), It's where to go for a hot and hearty breakfast. They most definitely don't skimp on portions. Burritos are massive and pancakes are fluffy and filling. Le Roy's has maintained its status as a family owned and operated diner and it's rarely too late for breakfast there. They serves breakfast every day until 3 p.m. 523 W Huntington Dr, Monrovia, CA 91016; (626) 357-5076.

McDonald's: Of course a food piece about Monrovia would be incomplete without a mention of the McDonald brothers. The McDonald's on the corner of Huntington and Mayflower commemorates the old Airdrome with a photo of the late restaurant and a letter from Dick McDonald where he reminisces about how he and his brother got their start at their father's restaurant. Though the drive-thru is actually several blocks west of the original site of the old Airdrome, it's certainty become the place where one can go and learn all about it the history of the chain. The Airdrome reportedly sold hamburgers for just ten cents each and all-you-can-drink orange juice for five cents. 480 W Huntington Dr, Monrovia, CA 91016; (626) 932-0102.

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