Sweet, crunchy and kosher, Melrose Bite finds a trendy combo


BP Photo by Olivia Fishman

FOOD: The OG fried chicken sandwich, priced at $16.50, with its included side of fries, with mango habanero chicken wings and sauces behind it. Prices at Melrose Bite for fried chicken are a bit lower than at other kosher restaurants.

By Olivia Fishman, Arts & Culture Editor

Fried chicken sandwiches are trending, and the kosher world is part of the trend. Melrose Bite, recently rebranded from a dairy-and-vegan restaurant to a fried chicken and wings spot, just might satisfy all your fried chicken cravings at a location that’s kosher, quick and close by. 

Set in the heart of the Melrose shopping district, the small, clean restaurant is located less than two miles from school on the corner of Melrose and North Ogden at 7801 Melrose Ave. – right across from Fairfax High School in one of the trendiest parts of a very popular neighborhood. It also has recently switched its kashrut supervision, from Kosher LA to OK Kosher, which is more widely accepted by the L.A. Jewish community.

On weekends, it’s just opposite the bustling Sunday crowd at Melrose Trading Post, set up on the Fairfax High School grounds and the most popular flea market in LA.  So you can wander over to the restaurant and spend some of the money that you saved by buying thrift.

When a new kosher restaurant opens up in town, word spreads like wildfire – especially when it’s fried chicken. So on a sunny Sunday afternoon, my parents and I decided to see if Melrose Bite’s fried chicken deserved the recent hype it was receiving. 

I took the first bite of the chicken and waffles dipped in maple syrup, and a celebration occurred in my mouth.

Melrose on a Sunday is like being plopped into the middle of Times Square.  Parking was a problem because of the flea market, but after searching on side streets in the area for a few minutes, my dad luckily found a parking spot a few blocks down from the restaurant, barely big enough for our Mini Cooper. 

As soon as you enter Melrose Bite, a calm and peaceful quiet overcomes you. Immediately as we walked through the door, a friendly employee was ready to assist us at the cash register. There were only two visible workers in the entire store — the chef and the cashier-server – but that didn’t stop them from providing top-tier service. 

The cashier gave us recommendations and we ordered all three: the OG fried chicken sandwich with an included side of fries, the chicken and waffles, and the mango habanero chicken wings. Once we finished ordering, we chose one of five tables in the small but comfortable storefront. 

There are very few kosher places in L.A. that have chicken and waffles. La Gondola does, but at a much higher price – $23 for four bite-sized servings, according to my La Gondola observations, compared to $15 at Melrose for a full meal.  Chick ‘n Chow does for $16 on Pico Boulevard. [The Boiling Point has not sampled or seen the items at Chick ‘n Chow.].

Photo of poster on wall of Melrose Bite advertising "Melrose Bite Hot Wing Challenge"
CHALLENGE: The Melrose Bite “hot wing challenge” is advertised right next to the door of the restaurant for customers to see. (BP Photo by Olivia Fishman)

But the lunch at Melrose Bite was outstanding. Our food came within 12 minutes of ordering, which was impressive for only one chef. I took the first bite of the chicken and waffles dipped in maple syrup, and a celebration occurred in my mouth. The chicken was crunchy and paired with the waffle was a satisfying sweet-and-savory mix. 

My dad, who is considered the wing expert in my family, loved the mango habanero chicken wings. Two of the three sauces we ordered – barbecue, honey mustard and ranch – were disappointing, however.  The barbecue wasn’t as tangy as I had hoped it would be, and the ranch lacked creaminess. But the honey mustard was thick and sweet. I believe that sauce is the most important part of any meal, so when the ranch was thin without flavor, it saddened me.

The OG fried chicken sandwich was spicy, but nicely balanced with the slaw and pickles on the bun. The bread was toasted, the chicken was fried to crunchy goodness, the slaw had a nice creaminess, and the slight kick from the spicy mayo added an intense new flavor to the sandwich. My only critique is that it was made with dark meat chicken, which I am never a fan of. However, my dad, who also doesn’t like dark meat, had no problem with the sandwich and enjoyed every bite. 

Everything we ordered was slightly pricey, but worthwhile for such delectable food. The fried chicken sandwiches range between $16 and $16.50 and include one side of your choice. Side options are seasoned fries, creamy slaw, sweet corn salad or potato salad. For chicken strips, which cost more, you can choose among three combos: two-piece combo for $13.50, three-piece combo for $17, or a four-piece combo for $21.50. These come with the same side options as the sandwiches. 

Map on wall of Melrose Bite
MAP: One wall of the restaurant shows some of Southern California’s popular sites, including Melrose Bite in the center. (BP Photo by Olivia Fishman)

Our chicken and waffles, which came with two chicken strips and a typical-sized waffle, cost $15. 

The cleanliness is noticeable and the decor is delightful, with a simple theme and a hand-painted,  fun map of L.A. on one wall. My mom always says that the cleanliness of the bathroom reflects the cleanliness of the kitchen, so we asked where the restroom was to go to take a look. We were surprised to hear that their restroom wasn’t available to the public, and that the nearest option was to go across the street and use the bathrooms inside Fairfax High School, which are open to the public on Sundays. 

However, where can people use the restroom Monday through Friday? My suggestion is to go before you leave your house – or grab some takeout and eat at home.

On Sundays, parking around Melrose is quite difficult because of the flea market. But any other day of the week, I would highly recommend stopping by Melrose Bite for a satisfyingly crunchy, filling, speedy and decently priced meal. For Shalhevet eaters with off-campus privileges, this option should be at the top of your list.

CORRECTION:  In an earlier edition of this post, the food combo was misidentified. The prices listed in the combo dish are for chicken strips, not chicken wings. The Boiling Point regrets the error.