Once a week, a nearly century-old breakfast club in Los Angeles meets for a morning full of food, fun, and light exercise. Its members really, really love ham and eggs.
The quirky club, which bills itself as a “democracy of ham and eggs” is a friendly, social gathering. Its anthem is a short rhyme called “Ham n’ Eggs,” which is basically a song about the many ways to enjoy the staple dish. Members have a secret handshake that mimics the act of flipping an egg.
One of the club’s beloved inside jokes is a cryptogram dedicated to their two favored foods. The final lines of the puzzle, which was created by a newspaper cartoonist, reads “O-I-C-V-F-M-N-X!” which translates to “Oh, I see, we have ham and eggs!”
The food-themed festivities commence promptly at 7 a.m. each Wednesday. Attendees have a hot breakfast (vegan if preferred), then an MC announces the club news. After, a pianist accompanies everyone in songs, poems, and some gentle exercises. There’s also the pledge of allegiance, a round-the-room meet-and-greet (“Hello Ham!” “Hello Egg!”), and finally an interesting, invigorating lecture about L.A. history and world events before proceedings end at 9 a.m. sharp.
It all began in 1925 when local businessmen riding the trails through Griffith Park wondered aloud whether someone could build a clubhouse, a relaxed place to have breakfast before going to work. They managed to turn this pondering into reality. Over the decades, the agenda has changed very little, though it now takes place in the Friendship Auditorium rather than in a stable.
Early on, moguls, magnates, oil men, politicians, athletes, writers, and actors all came here to lay aside their rivalries and “start the day off right.” There was even a “Ham and Eggs” radio program, which aired for an approximately 25-year stint and has recently been revived as a podcast.
The club opened its doors to women in 1981. Now, it’s a haven for any and all looking for a welcoming way to begin their Wednesday.
Those opting for official membership still undergo the appropriately odd ceremony, which involves sitting on a sawhorse named Ham while blindfolded, holding the horse’s tail with one hand and putting the other in a plate of fried eggs. Though membership has dwindled in recent years, a new young president and a boost from social media has made this a slice of retro heaven for anyone who loves quirky old L.A.
Know Before You Go
The LABC meets Wednesdays at 7 a.m. sharp. Tickets must be purchased in advance, RSVPs close Monday morning. Guest tickets are $25, members receive a 25 percent discount. Membership dues are $285/yearly or $28.50/monthly. Dress: business casual. Free parking onsite.