Silver Lake doesn’t need another coffee shop, but perhaps there’s room for for just one more—especially with something unique to offer. FrankieLucy Bakeshop is the newest cafe to open on the popular Sunset Boulevard stretch, near cafes like Go Get Em Tiger Los Feliz, Woodcat, Eightfold, Dinosaur Coffee, and a recently remodeled Intelligentsia location that’s been here for a decade. In an area filled with coffee, it’s important to stand out, and that’s exactly what owners Annie Choi and Kristine de la Cruz (Frankie and Lucy are their much loved dogs) have managed to do with their coffee and custard project. Open just in time for the new year, the shop’s playful coffee and food menu brings something special to the Silver Lake coffee scene.
Choi has been in the coffee business for some time now—her first shop, Found Coffee, is located inn Eagle Rock, and she’s also a Demitasse alum, meaning she helms the coffee program at FrankieLucy. Kristine de la Cruz is the dessert master behind the popular Burbank dessert shop Crème Caramel. Her Filipino treats, like her sweet and savory custards, are made available alongside other items. Before opening their shop, Choi and De la Cruz were fully aware of the area’s coffee saturation. This is why the duo knew they’d have to add something that was missing. Choi says, “We think our Asian-inspired sweets and treats were something that the neighborhood could embrace, and coffee pairs really well with the menu.”
The coffee program is initially starting out with Demitasse coffee and Peri Coffee. Soon, Choi hopes to include more California roasters on the bar. The drinks at FrankieLucy will be the same as Choi’s Found Coffee, with a few twists. Of course you’ll be able to find the classic espresso menu, but there’s also a bourbon vanilla latte and a vegan horchata. The vegan horchata is one of the items that adds that Asian-inspired flavor to the shop, made with a house-made blend of coconut, almond, and rice milk with pureed ube, a sweet purple yam that’s very popular in Filipino desserts. The drink comes out a light purple color and has a not-too-sweet taste that’s hard to describe—subtle, with hints of vanilla with some nuttiness. The drink doesn’t contain any espresso as a default, but many people opt for a “dirty” version, which is highly recommended.
The food is the other star of the cafe, as De la Cruz’s Filipino background shines in her baked goods. Ube shows up again in various custard-based sweets, like the upside down pie and chia seed pudding, flavored with ube and pandan, an ingredient found in southeast Asian deserts that tastes something like a coconut crossed with wheatgrass. Other treats like ube-based “purplies,” pecan crackles, s’mores bars, and meringue-based “unicorn poop” (!) are also available daily. For savory options, De la Cruz also plays with traditional Filipino flavors—her Spanish tortilla with longaniza hangs out alongside stratas, quiches, and a selection of hearty sandwiches.
There are a lot of options on the menu, but luckily all the items are on display and you can try everything before you decide what to get. Behind the food case is the coffee bar with a light sage green semi-automatic two-group La Marzocco GB5, served by a pair of Nuova Simonelli Mythos One Clima-Pro and Mahlkönig EK 43 grinders. Drip coffee is made via FETCO CBS-2141XTS, with pour-over options available on the Kalita Wave dripper.
The shop is cozy with just the right amount of seating space for grabbing a quick drink or bite to eat. About the design, Choi says, “We wanted a design element that combined the two concepts of the shop while being a bit mid-century modern. The circles on our walls are reminiscent of the circular shapes of the coffee bean and the egg.” Schism Design helped Choi and De la Cruz with the design.
In the future, Choi and De la Cruz hope to partner with the small shops nearby. Choi says, “As we get to know the neighborhood, we’re open to collaborations with our neighboring small businesses. Although our interior can’t accommodate too much due to our smaller size, we have some parking lot space where we can explore different options. We’re excited to grow in different ways as we get settled in this new location.”
That parking lot was packed full on a recent Saturday, with outdoor food service and banners proclaiming “Brunch AF”. It’s pretty much what you’d expect to find on Sunset Boulevard in 2017: hip, delicious, and delightfully global.