Masa Bakery & Cafe is already something of an institution in Echo Park. It opened about three years ago (more or less), replacing a different neighborhood landmark, the Cuban cafe Carmelos, which looked as though it had occupied its corner at Lemoyne and Sunset for decades. The departure of Carmelos looked to me like part of a gradual fading of a strong Cuban presence -- in the shops, at least -- in Echo Park. In any case, Masa opened and at first it seemed vaguely French: little puff pastries, a guy who spoke in a French accent, crepes on the menu. It also had historic -- i.e., late 19th century -- photos of Echo Park on the walls, big band music and Chicago pizza. On any given weekend morning half the patrons seem to know one another. There are lots of panini on the menu. In case there is any confusion about where to locate Masa, read the pizza: the cafe's newest menu offers a full page of "side street" bistro pizzas. Twelve of them: The Elysian Park; The Santa Ynez; the Quintero; The Bonnie Brae; the Cerro Gordo; The Alvarado; the McDuff...etc. The pizza map here is heavily weighted to the south end of Echo Park, overrepresented, perhaps, by Angeleno Heights. An issue for the neighborhood council?
To Pizza Buona (another EP mainstay): the pepperoni is in your court!