Bernie’s Teriyaki and Tigeorges Turn Their Street Into a Chicken Destination


If you take 2nd street a few blocks north west out of Downtown L.A. you’ll find an amazing little stretch of Glendale Boulevard on the border of Westlake and Echo Park.  It’s mostly deserted, save for two unassuming restaurants who both serve amazing chicken.  I found myself over there on Friday with Nastassia Johnson, the founder of the Manila Machine Truck (R.I.P.), to continue my Filipino food education at a place called Bernie’s Teriyaki. But once I saw that the popular Haitian rotisserie chicken place Tigeorges was right across the street, I knew a double lunch was in order!


Don’t let the “teriyaki” in Bernie’s name fool you, this place is straight up Filipino- owned and operated for over 30 years.  The menu is longer than it needs to be, with burgers, hot dogs, fried fish, fried shrimp, burritos, and taquitos- presumably to feed any nearby construction workers looking for a super cheap lunch. I’ve heard the chili cheese fries are amazing, but most of the clientele is Filipino, and most people order the “teriyaki” chicken- a platter of bone in grilled chicken served over fried rice for just $5.25.  They also have skewers of pork and beef, and while there isn’t anything about the BBQ that screams Filipino food the way Nastassia tells it, if you were Filipino and grew up in the area chances are your parents picked up chicken at Bernie’s for dinner at least once a week.


Chicken is fine, but why get just chicken when you can order the mixed combo!  Chicken plus one pork skewer and one beef skewer, all for $5.25, seems like the no brainer order to me.  One bite of the chicken and you see why people have been picking up food from this place for years.  Moist on the inside, with a great char on the outside.  The marinade isn’t very strong, so make sure you add a nice dose of the “teriyaki” sauce from the squeeze bottles on the table- which tastes like a slightly sweetened soy sauce.  The skewers were (surprisingly) well cooked, and not dry at all… although at a place like this I’m guessing it’s a crap shoot depending on who is manning the grill and what time of day it is.  And if you like your meat on a stick with a super sweet glaze, you might be disappointed by these understated skewers, which are clearly more about the char.  Combined with the simple fried rice underneath, I can’t remember the last time I had such a satisfying lunch for only $5.25.


For $1.70 I also couldn’t resist trying the Teriyaki Burger, but the only lesson I learned from that was stick with the BBQ! It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t anything special either (part of me was hoping that the flavors from the chicken, beef and pork filled grill would seep into the burger, but they didn’t.)

With that out of the way, it was time for some Haitian BBQ from across the street.


I had always thought that Tigeorges was mostly famous for their sweet potato pudding, but it’s the smokey smell of rotisserie chicken that hits you when you first walk into the restaurant.   (Spoiler: There’s a giant fire pit/rotisserie in the front of the front of the restaurant.)


Their lunch menu has a $7.85 quarter chicken combo with rice, beans and salad… but if you want to get a true taste of everything Tigeorges has to offer, go with a friend and share the 1/2 chicken Island combo.


For $16 you get half a rotisserie chicken, rice and beans, fried plantains (your choice between sweet or savory), acra (a Haitian fritter), pikliz (a pickled cabbage salad), and their famous Ti Malis sauce (a Haitian hot sauce heavy on the onions, garlic and lime juice.)  It’s an absolute feast for two, and everything is delicious.  The chicken was a tad bit drier than what you get across the street, but what it lacks in moisture it makes up for in crispy skin.  Thankfully the rice and beans are super moist and packed with tons of flavor, and once you dip the chicken in that Ti Malis sauce, all is forgiven.  So good.  And if you’ve never had acra (I hadn’t) the little fried pockets of mush, apparently made from taro, will blow you away.


And if you’ve got room for dessert… the dense, darkly rich sweet potato pudding is no joke.

Declaring a winner between these two chicken champions would not only be unfair, but futile.  All I will say is that finding them both on this empty stretch of Glendale Boulevard was a lunch excursion I won’t soon forget.  And if you work anywhere near 2nd Street in Downtown L.A., it’s a trip you should taking at least once a week (just like Nastassia’s family used to do.)

Bernie’s Teriyaki, 318 Glendale Blvd, 213-250-8413

Tigeorges, 309 N Glendale Blvd., 213-353-9994


1 Comment

  • How come Nastassia gets a full shoutout for being your guide to Filipino food, but then I’m just relegated as some sherpa? Or want to keep it a secret. Well it’s not a secret anymore! :D

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