Button Mash: Come for the Games, Stay for the Food

A Barcade For The Ages
Button Mash Echo Park
Arcades lining a wall at Button Mash. Photo: Andre Karimloo

Button Mash Echo Park

Lined along Sunset Blvd in Echo Park are many of the establishments people associate with current-day Los Angeles. Trendy, gentrified-inspired restaurants. Old, dingy dive bars. And countless shops that by name alone it’s difficult to distinguish what they exactly sell. It can prove to be a challenge to find somewhere to indulge in Angelino culture outside of the above mentioned places. Luckily, Button Mash – a bar/restaurant/arcade hybrid –  is a beacon of no-frills fun among a myriad of cliché LA spots.

Located just a few blocks from Dodger Stadium, Button Mash has been in operation since late 2015. It took several years of trials and tribulations to finally get the idea off the ground. Since it’s opening however, it has been a success, with locals frequenting on a regular basis while others make the trek to enjoy the classic games and quality cuisine.

Offering a unique selection of vintage arcade games and pinball machines, the space also boasts a full bar area and full-service restaurant area with a menu curated by the famed Starry Kitchen.

Button Mash Echo Park
Pinball machines line the back wall of Button Mash. Photo: Andre Karimloo

Owners Jordan Weiss and Gabriel Fowlkes aim to combine all three elements equally at Button Mash into an experience for all to enjoy.

“That was kind of our mindframe,” said Fowlkes. “To really focus on the games, to really focus on the beers, to really focus on the food, and to not have one of those segments be something forgotten. We really wanted to put thought into each aspect of it.”

Button Mash is a haven for fanatics of the Golden Age of arcades. Very few of the games they feature were made later than 1993, Neo-Geo being an example of a post-’93 addition. At any given time, there are about 50 game machines on the floor. Forty of which are video arcades, while the rest are pinball games. Classics like Galaga, Frogger and Ms. Pac-Man are staples at Button Mash, but also included are various arcades not as known to younger generations. There’s a rotation of games to keep the options fresh. With over 100 machines in their arsenal, there’s something new to play daily.

Button Mash Echo Park
Long tables sit between rows of Arcades. Photo: Andre Karimloo

Games aren’t the only items changing around at Button Mash. Their craft beer selection is constantly in rotation as well. With an eclectic mix of brews featured, there is something for every type of beer drinker to enjoy. That, along with a selection of 70 bottles and cans to choose from, makes their collection one the best around.

Button Mash Echo Park
Crispy Tofu Balls. Photo: Andre Karimloo

Starry Kitchen, a Los Angeles pop-up restaurant, handled the initial operation of food service at Button Mash upon it’s opening. They offer a wide menu of Asian-inspired fare including small bites, larger, sharable dishes, sandwiches and noodles. Along with several vegetarian and vegan-friendly items as well.

Button Mash Echo Park
Dan Dan Noodles. Photo: Andre Karimloo

Crispy tofu balls are among their staple items, which get their naturally green color from a Vietnamese rice named Com Dep. Also popular are their three varieties of double-fried wings, coming in tamarind, ginger and tangy flavors. Dan Dan noodles, and their mom-and-pop style double cheeseburger are other favorites. Probably the best kept secret on the menu is the Bun Cha Ha Noi, a classic, family-style Vietnamese dish meant to be shared among friends.

Button Mash Echo Park
Tangy Double-Fried Wings. Photo: Andre Karimloo

Ultimately, Button Mash aims to be a place to congregate, enjoy games, drinks and food, while creating new memories and finding something new to enjoy.

“We pride ourselves on being a neighborhood gathering spot, where you can relax and hang out with friends,” said Fowlkes. “That’s really our motto. You can be a foodie, you can be a craft beer head or you can be a gamer and get your complete fix on any one of those things by coming here. And hopefully you’ll try something and find a new passion.”

 

Located: 1391 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

Phone: (213) 250-9903

Open: 5PM – 12 AM

Andre Karimloo
Staff Writer & Photographer at Happening In NELA | andre@happeninginnela.net

A writer from the Los Angeles area in his 20-somethings. An enjoyer of good conversations, good compositions, and good drinks. Inspired by the the sights, sounds and ideals of a city which embraces cultures of all different mediums.

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