The Original Cannabis Cafe, formerly called the Lowell Cafe, is now open in Los Angeles, California. The cafe allows customers to order food, sip on nonalcoholic beverages, and legally consume marijuana all in one place. I tried the Smash Burger at the Original Cannabis Cafe and it was one of the best burgers I've ever tasted. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
America's first-ever cannabis cafe in West Hollywood, California, opened its doors to significant fanfare. The Original Cannabis Cafe, formerly known as the Lowell Cafe, operates just like a normal restaurant, complete with servers and an extensive food menu created by chef Andrea Drummer. When I first heard about the cafe, I thought that the food would be infused with cannabis, but that's not the case. Drummer told Insider that although the restaurant is unable to legally infuse cannabis into the food as of right now, they do pair a lot of the food menu items with specific strains that they carry in-house. I visited the cafe and found that while the menu may have been created with cannabis pairings in mind, the food is good enough to stand on its own — especially the Smash Burger. I headed to the Original Cannabis Cafe in West Hollywood, California, around lunchtime on a Monday.
As I walked toward the check-in desk, the smell of marijuana filled the air and customers casually made their way inside the restaurant. My coworker and I made a reservation the week before and were immediately able to check-in after showing our IDs. All guests must be at least 21 years old to visit the cannabis cafe. Even if you have a medical marijuana card, you won't be allowed on the premises unless you're 21. I noticed that the indoor space inside the cafe had a rustic vibe that made it feel cozy.
I enjoyed the aesthetic of the indoor area — lots of wooden accents and hanging plants that added to its lounge feel. While I didn't see a lot of smoke lingering in the restaurant, the odor inside was still strong. As we walked to the outdoor area, our hostess told us that customers could also sit at the bar and order dabs as they waited for their table.
You can order everything from a dab, which is a concentrated form of marijuana, to a joint at the bar, but you won't be able to order alcohol. All of the drinks offered at the Original Cannabis Cafe were nonalcoholic since California law forbids alcohol and cannabis from being sold on the same premises. The hostess guided us to the outdoor patio space, which is where most of the customers had decided to sit.
The patio area was gorgeous, with wooden tables and trees filling up the entire space. People outside also seemed to be enjoying their meals while basking in the sun. I looked around and noticed that some people had bongs at their tables. Others seemed to be passing around joints while carrying on with their conversations. At this point, I was hungry and ready to eat. Shortly after we sat down, we were greeted by a server who placed two menus down in front of us: a food menu and a cannabis menu.
I flipped to the cannabis menu, which is when our server explained that we'd be placing any marijuana-related orders through a "flower host." In order to comply with state law, the restaurant and cannabis retail establishment have to act as separate businesses, which is why guests order food and cannabis through two different servers. Our food server then asked us if we preferred "to smoke a bit before we eat." Normally, that would sound like a great idea, but we just decided to order our food first so that it would be ready by the time we started smoking. The food menu had plenty of appetizing options, but I had my heart set on a burger.
The food menu featured favorites like wings, chips and guacamole, and corn dogs, as well as some more gourmet-style options, such as heirloom tomato and burrata. It was hard not to order everything on the menu, but there's always next time. This time around though, I knew that I wanted something filling and warm, and I was already gravitating toward a cheeseburger. I asked my server for one of the most popular items on the food menu and he recommended their signature Smash Burger with fries.
The Smash Burger ($19) comes topped with remoulade, caramelized onions, crispy shallots, and white cheddar. It only took about 15 minutes for my burger to arrive at the table. The burger was larger than any I've ever eaten before, and it was oozing with white cheddar.
When our server placed the burger down in front of me, I was surprised at how big it was. I didn't realize that it was a double Angus burger when I was ordering, but it would be more than enough to leave me feeling full for hours. I took a giant bite out of my burger and was surprised by how juicy it was.
The burger came out on a bed of golden french fries. My mouth started to water as I smelled the aromas of the caramelized onions. I took my first bite and was immediately a fan of the way the cheese melted in my mouth. I typically order my burgers topped with just cheese and lettuce, but the combination of toppings on the Smash Burger blew me away.
The creamy remoulade sauce, caramelized onions, and pickles added to the flavor of the burger The toasted brioche bun coupled with the cooked-to-perfection meat patty made eating this burger a delightful experience, and the sauce was a nice touch as it paired well with all of the other savory flavors. I enjoyed all of the cannabis options the cafe had to offer, but the delicious food is what surprised me the most.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Original Cannabis Cafe, which included food, cannabis-infused tea, and a pre-roll. At $19, the burger I ordered was more expensive than a typical restaurant, but in my opinion, it was money well spent. With more delicious food options to choose from, including a mountain of nachos, it's clear that the Original Cannabis Cafe is more than just a place to get high.