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Downtown Diner Braves the Lost Souls Café

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Now a “career woman", Leilani Wertens searches for the perfect meal during her lunch hour in an oft neglected part of Los Angeles—the newly revitalized downtown district. Read about her weekly culinary adventures on LAist.

by Leilani Wertens

A sign at the entrance to a cobbled alleyway (Harlem Place Alley) is the only clue that Lost Souls Café lies just ahead.

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Grasping for the handle of what appeared to be a back door, I felt as if a secret password or series of knocks were required to gain entrance. This odd point of entry just adds to Lost Souls’ eccentric charm. Inside, small red, green, and white tiles form patterns on the floor and have worn away in patches due to frequent use. Candles and small cacti nestle on wooden tables big enough for two while vintage armchairs and couches are pushed together in groupings to form lounge areas. A scattering of indy papers, art magazines, and local guides to LA litter the coffee and telephone tables from the ‘50s. The colorful and slightly cartoonish paintings and sculpture that line the walls of the café not only serve as creative décor but are also for sale, some small mixed media pieces can be had for $25.