Music fans in Los Angeles bathe in the crimson glow of dim, red lighting at the Baked Potato every night, worshiping at the altar of jazz, the same way that Ryan Gosling’s character did in La La Land, when he held on to a stool that was allegedly discarded by the club, and that had once sat the great Hoagy Carmichael. In addition to serving up memorable music, the spot is also known for serving up, you guessed it, baked potatoes.
The Baked Potato opened in 1970 in the Studio City neighborhood, close to Universal Studios. Its proprietor, Don Randi, is a professional pianist and keyboardist who’s been active in the industry for over 60 years, playing with the likes of Nancy Sinatra and the Beach Boys. The club has been named the best jazz club in Los Angeles more than once. The location has also seen tragedy: It was here that Nick Menza of Megadeth collapsed and died from heart failure while playing a set with his jazz band OHM.
While the focus is on music, the club’s food menu is just as much a scene-stealer. Following from its name, the club mainly serves baked potatoes with myriad toppings, with some salad options added almost as an afterthought. Giant spuds engulfed in a swirl of steam bedeck every little bar table, oozing with sour cream and an eruption of toppings. There’s maple ham and cheese, egg and sauteed spinach, and teriyaki chicken, but the tater trophy goes to the Philly cheese steak potato (steak, onions, and cheese on a buttered potato, with or without sour cream and a side salad). The music may be smooth and rich, but so are the potatoes.
Know Before You Go
The club is open every night from 7:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.