“Our studio is located in the rapidly growing area of downtown Los Angeles called the Arts District,” ceramicist Melissa Tolar says. Melissa and her husband Jonathan Ballak comprise A Question of Eagles, a ceramics studio known for modern, heirloom-quality pieces. “Our building is filled with creative small businesses, and it’s been inspiring and exciting to become part of the neighborhood. Almost daily, it seems like a new shop or restaurant is opening up, but we have honed down our favorite places within 2 blocks of the studio where we can easily sneak a quick break, and also get some of the best foods of LA.” Take a peek at their picks below + shop A Question of Eagles on westelm.com!
1375 E. 6th Street #6
We may be partial since we collaborated with Chase and Tami to create custom cups for their new coffee/bike shop, but they truly have the best latte and pastries in the neighborhood (Olympia coffee and Superba treats). And if you’re bicycle aficionados like we are, you can have a flat tire repaired while you’re sipping coffee, or they can outfit you with a new bike from their expertly curated collection. They have so beautifully transformed an old storage warehouse into an airy comfortable space, that we like to bring our computer and linger on the deck.
608 Mateo Street
Sometimes you just don’t want coffee, and luckily The Springs is in close range. Another transformed warehouse, inside the The Springs is an urban oasis. They have a great selection of fresh juices, but we often choose their Golden Milk – a delicious combination including almond milk, turmeric, and cinnamon that’s energizing and healthy.
2000 E 7th St
It’s been rumored by a famous chef that these tacos are a hidden gem of LA, and we agree. The restaurant is actually a defunct diner where no cooking occurs inside. Around 5:30p a mobile grill is set up in front on the sidewalk to serve a small menu to a wide variety of Angelenos. You can eat in the diner, but we usually grab tacos to go and have a small feast at the studio before a late night work session.
Husband-and-wife team Melissa Tolar and Jonathan Ballak are committed to making heirloom-quality goods by hand—including their collections of planters, quilts and bowls. We love their ceramic planters, which they throw, carve and then paint with lead-free glazes by hand. Follow along with their travels and inspirations over on their Instagram. Shop their work on westelm.com
Portrait by Jessica Comingore