"Meet at Ignatius Cafe, 1451 Dana Street."
Last I month I was in Los Angeles for a few days. A co-worker suggested we meet at a coffee shop called the "Ignatius Cafe." Never heard of it.
About a mile west of USC, I turned off of Vermont Avenue on to Dana Street. I honestly thought I made wrong turn turn. I imagined the coffee shop would be in a strip mall or commercial center. Dana was a residential street - no coffee shop or other businesses.
I re-check the address: 1451 Dana Street. Looked like some homes behind a large hedge. The sign at the front said St. Agnes Korean Catholic Church. Didn't look like a church or a coffee shop.
More signs for the church - but still, no coffee shop.
Behind the hedge were three beautifully restored Victoria-era homes. This is not what I expected. To say that I was amazed by the landscape and surroundings would be an understatement.
Umbrellas, tables, and people enjoying coffee let me know I probably was in the right place.
Ignatius Cafe is located in the ground floor of the last of the three restored homes.
It's run by St. Agnes Korean Catholic Church. This didn't look or feel anything like I would have expected.
Outside on the front porch was the USC campus ministry staff - getting together for a planing meeting. I'd be joining them in a bit.
Inside, Ignatius Cafe has restored the beautiful 100+ year old home. There were a few older men and women inside, sitting at tables and speaking in Korean.
Coffee for sale.
Information in Korean about an upcoming event for their church.
I'm not Korean. I'm not Catholic. That said, St. Agnes has done an outstanding job in both restoring and improving the property.
Behind the homes was a large outdoor fellowship area, as well as areas of for food preparation.
God's Wonderful World. I LOVE this artwork outside of the small classrooms used for children's Sunday School.
Such a great creative and whimsical style.
Fruit trees planted alongside on of the buildings out back.
Apparently, the property continued to extend back to Adams Blvd. I'm assuming these apartments are used by church staff. These are obviously newer building - and, like the rest of the property, fantastically maintained. I didn't want to overstay my welcome so I headed back up front.
More tables and chairs out front.
Several people were in smaller tables along the large hedge in front of the property.
Isn't this incredible? Beautiful, private seating areas sheltered from the street by a trained hedges.
Great time connecting with the USC campus ministry staff team. What an amazing group of people.
After our meeting, everyone hung around getting work done. Ignatius Cafe, of course, has wifi.
I was planning on meeting friends on the westside, but didn't want to leave. It was a combination of perfect afternoon weather, and getting a lot done with a great group of people. Can a place be described as both "peaceful" and "productive" at the same time?
Here's a few quotes from some Yelp reviewers:
- Serene and idyllic place to relax, study, or meet with friends. It brings me back to my childhood and imagining being in the secret garden.
- Ignatius is a beautiful green oasis tucked in the urban neighborhood near USC.
- This is a hidden secret garden in the middle of a bustling and busy city.
- You just feel so welcomed here like it's the house my grandma I never had.
After years of living in, and being in and out of, Los Angeles - it's so cool discovering a place I never knew existed. Looking forward to visiting again.
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