L.A. Café: Healthy food with a bit of art

Owner Darren Graunstadt stands in front of painted wings outside L.A. Café. It’s a popular spot for photos. PHOTO/MARY SIRING

Looking for a place to have great food and a good time? OU News Bureau reporters have visited some distinctive eateries in Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties to learn more about what these places have to offer. Reporter Mary Siring visited L.A. Cafe in Waterford and spoke with owner Darren Graunstadt.

Tell me about the history of this place.
We are going on our 31st year. … We had two locations at one point. We started at Middlebelt and Orchard Lake Road, in the city of Sylvan Lake. We couldn’t buy the property, it was a rental, so we looked around for one to buy and found this one. This location has been here for 23 years.

Describe what it offers patrons.
Good, healthy food. That’s what we really shoot for. We are starting to work on a vegan menu, too. We’ve always been healthy. We are just going to push it a little bit more. 
I like the creativity: coming up with new menu items, trying to find artists to display. We display artists in here for free. All of the profit is the artist’s. We have a new artist every month.

Employee Sophia Lewallen makes up an order. PHOTO/MARY SIRING

Why would someone want to come here?
We offer something different. It’s not the same as the coney islands or fast food. I think that’s what has kept us going for 30 years. We hope they enjoy the whole experience.

What do you do that’s different from other places like this?
We do art shows. We do a thing called Peace Fest in June, which is huge. It brings thousands of people. In October, we do a thing called Free For All. That one is totally free for artists to show, and it’s free to come. Peacefest is paid for by artists and ads, and it’s free to come.
The poster design for Peacefest is done by the kids locally. It’s a class competition each year at the North Oakland Tech Center.

What’s the one thing everyone should order here?
The Good Mother is our biggest seller.

How many people work here?
We have eight employees.

What does the future hold for this place?
We want to keep doing the community and art thing. There is an event called Dare To Inspire that we are starting to work with, and that is another art show like Peacefest and Free For All.

I am always trying to figure out how to get a better impression for the general public. I want to work on marketing. Any advertising is word of mouth. The only advertising we do is for Peace Fest itself. We don’t make money on the event. We make money by having the event.

L.A. Cafe, 5815 Dixie Highway, Waterford, Michigan. 48329 (248) 623-1610



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Posted by on Sep 18 2017. Filed under Eateries. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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