Customers greet each other by name as Granny runs the till and does a little subtle match-making on the side, “And this is another one of my sons.” The lotto counter does a brisk business and turns the cafe into somethin akin to the general store.
I had passed Earlez Grille on Crenshaw a number of times with my belly already full of BBQ, only noticing the giant “chili” sign. That is, until I saw Duane speak on a panel assembled by Jonathan Gold.
This time as I drove down Crenshaw and spotted that “chili” sign I pulled a fast left into the parking lot. The room is spacious, with the typical cafeteria-style line and lots of clean tables with a fabulous 50s Googie design.
Then menu is simple, but diverse. You’ve got your burgers, dogs, chili bowls, and tamales. But then there are surprises, like the Jamaican beef paties, and from Granny’s accent, I don’t doubt they are made in the kitchen. Vegans are heavily catered to, with vegan dogs, chili, cupcakes, and delicious-looking “chili cheese fries.”
The split and grilled beef dog is just a little spicy, like a bratwurst without being too fatty. The chili is fantastic and definitely something to base a reputation on. The tamales seem to be filled with the meat base for the chili, a light masa, rice (!), chili, pickles and hot peppers. The penultimate drunk food.
Althought they don’t do their own desserts, they scoped out the area to find the best version possible of every dessert. The Banana Pudding from Kitchen Kreations of Los Angeles is almost whipped as lightly as marshmallow fluff and of course the Bean Pie is Shabazz.
It is a common blogger practice to return to a location more than once before writing it up, but I have a feeling in this case it’s not necessary. I know whether I go back in a week, a month, or a year, the dogs are going to be the exactly same, the standards will be high, and somebody behind the counter will be waiting with an easy smile.