AMMO to go

Photo credit: Ghost Media

The easiest way to load up on seasonal goodness for dinner

By Joshua Lurie

Far more bucolic than the Army base or firing range the name might suggest, AMMO is the brilliant creation of Amy Sweeney, who originally founded the restaurant back in 1996 with the vision of offering a delicious and healthy breakfast and lunch option to the droves of hungry workers at the surrounding Hollywood studios and post-production houses. Later expanding to the Hammer Museum, and recently opening a takeout hub on Melrose Avenue, Sweeney continues to make good on this delectable vision, which now has expanded to cover dinner, too.

The streamlined setting on Melrose includes a pair of sidewalk tables, six stools at an L-shaped wood counter, and green shelves filled with Caffe Luxxe coffee and tea, olive oil, sea salt, and hot sauce, all for sale. Just step right up and place your order at the copper-fronted counter, next to a pastry case offering temptations for now or later.

Chef Mike Garber, a Los Angeles native and longtime farmers market fiend, helps Sweeney execute her seasonal vision throughout the day, from breakfast through dinner. The day starts with options like an Italianate fried egg sandwich with prosciutto, arugula, tapenade, and aïoli on sourdough; or avocado toast dressed with dandelion greens, shaved radish, and chili flakes.

After 11 a.m., they really open up the culinary playbook. Soup of the day varies, but during our visit it featured speckled purple Christmas lima beans from Rancho Gordo with squash, carrots, celery, and fennel in tomato-stained vegan broth. Salads typically include a Niçoise with rosy slices of seared albacore on a bed of mixed greens that’s studded with hard-boiled eggs, green beans, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, and a sidecar of soft pink red wine vinaigrette.
The pan-roasted salmon is a stunner, a juicy slab of sustainably farm-raised fish served atop grilled little gem lettuces, shaved watermelon radish, asparagus, carrots, and pickled red onion, served with tangy dill crème fraîche. Heartier options include a burger crafted with California grass-fed beef, aged Cheddar, aïoli, grilled onions marinated in mustard, Worcestershire, rosemary, sage, and either red frill mustard or arugula, all piled on a brioche bun from local Larder Baking Company. Each burger comes with a side salad, or even better, crunchy skin-on French fries cut in-house and tossed with mixed herbs.

A now traditional favorite continues to be AMMO’s best seller: Alexander’s brown rice bowl. This is what Amy’s son eats at home, and features broccoli, snap peas, asparagus, pico de gallo, and a choice of chicken or organic tofu. The brown rice bowl remains AMMO’s bestseller. The salad case features bowls of seasonal sides like cucumber couscous, roasted potato salad, and mushroom asparagus—feel free to mix and match.

Now back to that pastry case. AMMO to go serves no composed desserts, but the selection of sweet treats here—apple tarts, whole-wheat cookies loaded with Noel chocolate, caramel brownies, and gluten-free, vegan banana chocolate muffins—are all you’ll need.

Photo credit: Ghost Media


Mon–Fri 9 AM–7 PM; Sat 9 AM–5 PM
Closed Sunday

price range

$13 (turkey burger) to $18 (grilled hanger steak)