Offbeat L.A.: Cafe Jack- A Kitschy Boat Shaped “Titantic” Themed Restaurant in Koreatown

Sailing, Take Me Away... Cafe Jack in Koreatown (Photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Sailing, Take Me Away… Cafe Jack in Koreatown (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

I must say, I live for programmatic architecture. Although its heyday of popularity has long passed, the inner child in me does a happy cartwheel for a giant donut or any other building shaped like the product it sells. And theme restaurants, well, they literally make me jump for joy… Los Angeles has had a history rich with both, but unfortunately most of that kitschy, yet incredible, architecture can only be seen in old photographs.

Luckily, one such restaurant sits happily in the center of Koreatown, set back from busy Western Avenue and mostly obscured from the street. Most people who would genuinely appreciate it do not realize it is even there. Cafe Jack is not a vintage restaurant, although I’m sure that as the years pass it will become more marvelous as its age begins to show. This fabulous boat-shaped restaurant was built in 2007 in tribute to the movie Titanic. The ‘Jack’ in question is the main character of the film, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

True love never dies...(photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

True love never dies…(photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

This massive ship was constructed nine years ago by its owner, also named Jack, Jack Shin. He used authentic exterior boat material, along with finishing touches such as maritime lamps and an attached dinghy. The inside decor was carefully chosen with both the movie and the nautical theme in mind. The interior features rustic wood planked floors, life preservers, cabin-like rooms and stills from the film.

The interior of Cafe Jack (photos by Nikki Kreuzer)

The interior of Cafe Jack (photos by Nikki Kreuzer)

Serving Korean food and a healthy selection of medicinal teas and smoothies, it is also heavy on sushi roll selections. But the real reason to visit Cafe Jack isn’t merely for hunger, it is because you are hungering for a bigger experience, something to shake you and wake you, and make you smile. There is a reason that I’ve been accidentally calling it Happy Jack since I first learned of its existence, and it isn’t a reference to the 1966 mod-era song by The Who. It is because a themed restaurant is a way to step out of the dull and hum-drum and step into another experience, another time, another world. Visiting Cafe Jack is also a visit to your own personal happy place.

The menu at Cafe Jack features Chicken Katsu and Cream Pasta with Seafood (photos by Nikki Kreuzer)

The menu at Cafe Jack features Chicken Katsu and Cream Pasta with Seafood (photos by Nikki Kreuzer)

"I'll never let go, Jack. I'll never let go..." (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

“I’ll never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go…” (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)



Cafe Jack: 508 S Western Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90020; (213) 365-8882.





About Nikki Kreuzer

Nikki Kreuzer has been a Los Angeles resident for more than half of her life. When not working her day job in the film & TV industry, she spends her time over many obsessions, mainly music, art and exploring the oddities of the city she adores. So far she has written 100 Offbeat L.A. articles, which she started in 2013 while writing for The Los Angeles Beat. She has also been published in the LA Weekly,, Twist Magazine, Strobe and Not For Hire. Nikki is also is a mosaic artist, working actor and published photographer. As part of the band Nikki & Candy, she plays bass, sings and is co-writer. Find Nikki & Candy music on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube and other music sites. Nikki is currently working on her first novel. Please "like" the Offbeat L.A. Facebook page! For more Offbeat L.A. photos & adventures follow @Lunabeat on Instagram.
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