Triple Beam: The not-so-secret gem of Highland Park

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Triple Beam: The not-so-secret gem of Highland Park

Graffiti on the walls completes Triple Beam's hipster vibe.

Graffiti on the walls completes Triple Beam's hipster vibe.

Claire McDonald

Graffiti on the walls completes Triple Beam's hipster vibe.

Claire McDonald

Claire McDonald

Graffiti on the walls completes Triple Beam's hipster vibe.

An unassuming dark hallway off Figueroa Street in Highland Park leads to a rather small and crowded communal space — cement floors, high ceilings, colorful chairs — that houses Triple Beam. Once inside, the smell of foot-long pizzas cooking in the oven and the sounds of aggressively loud ’90s hip hop give off a vibe that can best be described as the epitome of LA gentrification. 

For the last year, I have consumed a slice of pizza from Triple Beam at least once a week, which, for people who have been to the restaurant, may seem shocking. I am not the typical Triple Beam customer. Quite the contrary, I stick out like a sore thumb as I walk in with my Brooks tennis shoes and fluffy socks from Target. Everything from the moody lighting to the grungy sticker wall gives off a hipster vibe that I do not exactly identify with. But, as someone who has always floated under the radar, I find a thrill in standing out. I don’t mind the stares, and I wasn’t bothered that one time the cashier asked me, “So, where are you visiting from?”

I make my weekly Triple Beam visit every Friday to get my gourmet pizza fix, but in order to write this review fairly and avoid the bias that comes with being a regular at a restaurant, I forced my mom to take me for my regular slice of Triple Beam on a Tuesday after school. I thought that my mom would help balance my regular-customer point of view with an objective, fresh perspective. 

The idea of Triple Beam is that there are no predetermined slice sizes, so when you go up to the counter to order, you simply show the worker with your hands how much you want. Not being forced to buy a whole slice of pizza has allowed me, a very unadventurous eater, to step out of my comfort zone and try little pieces of other types of pizza. 

My go-to order at Triple Beam is two slices of squash and honey pizza, each slice about the size of two index cards next to each other. The honey in the pizza brings an incredibly sweet touch to the creamy mozzarella and tomato base of the pizza. The squash perfectly balances out both the sweetness and richness. 

Although I have no complaints regarding my usual order, my mom pushed me to order the sage and potato pizza, which I had never had before. My mom went with a slice of asparagus pizza (pizza is one of the only ways for her to eat a vegetable). 

After one bite of the potato pizza, I was already pretty overwhelmed by the richness. By the second bite, I was downing my Coke just to mask the flavor. The pizza is made up of three types of cheese: mozzarella, fontina and black truffle cheese. The sage and potatoes were a good contrast to the cheese, but for me, the cheese taste was simply too much. As my mom said, though, I shouldn’t hate on a pizza with three different types of cheese for being rich.

One of the greatest things about Triple Beam is that they keep it simple. Three toppings max for each pizza, none of that sausage, bell peppers, onions and pineapples all in one type of stuff. At every other pizza place I go to, I spend at least five minutes carefully reading the description of every pizza only to end up just getting cheese because all of the other options either have three types of meat on them or an entire salad. At Triple Beam, though, each pizza has a specific and focused flavor profile that it is going for. Whether is it the squash and honey pizza or the sage and potato, the flavors are distinct. They don’t overdo it with the toppings, because they don’t have to: the flavors are already there.

If I haven’t convinced yet that the pizzas are good enough for you to make a trip to Highland Park, I am happy to say that Triple Beam has so much more to offer than its incredible pizzas. The real selling point of the restaurant is the atmosphere. Just in the 30 minutes my mom and I were there, we had a conversation with a woman about the life-changing effects of journaling, and we discovered two new songs that were playing on the loudspeaker that we could queue on Spotify for our ride home. The people-watching is superior, too. One time I spent 30 minutes trying to figure out if a group of people at a table were friends who enjoyed dressing in matching white garb or a cult.

Whether your interest is the delicious hint of honey on a slice of squash pizza or the hilarious conversations you might overhear between a 20-year-old and his rescue husky puppy, Triple Beam is a must-visit.