Story by Aanji Sin
Photo by Alicia Alderete
South Pasadena has its fair share of coffeehouses. Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Kaldi are to name just a few cafés around the city, and the newest coffeehouse addition has proven to be just as successful as cafés of its kind. The Lost Parrot Café has received numerous positive reviews and a five-star rating on Yelp — in under two months of business. Even among the many coffeehouses in South Pasadena, the Lost Parrot has already set itself apart.
The café is aptly named after the flocks of wild parrots that live in the trees of the city. There is no definitive origin story for the birds, hence owner Winston Secret gave it the name, “Lost Parrot.” The café’s quaint urban aesthetic is inspired by these parrots, a piano in one corner of the spacious area, complete with shelves of books and various potted plants up for purchase.
Lost Parrot’s trademark drink is the California Gold turmeric latte. The drink contains unconventional ingredients such as dehydrated coconut and sea algae, which are meant to counter the negative effects of coffee. Specifically, turmeric counters inflammation and dehydrated coconut is meant to fight dehydration. Customers are also happy to find that the latte isn’t bitter like most foods containing turmeric are; instead, the coconut gives the coffee a rich, creamy taste. The Lost Parrot also sells standard coffee drinks, such as flavored lattes, americanos, and fresh pastries. Their freshly-made coffee cake pairs nicely with many of the store’s caffeinated beverages. Customers who also bring a plant to the café will be traded for a slice of free coffee cake.
Winston Secrest is a member of South Pasadena High School’s graduating class of 2003. Secrest has been an active member of the community during his days in South Pasadena, working at Marengo Elementary daycare before opening the Lost Parrot Café. His wife owns FOLD gallery, an art gallery above the Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles that includes some of his own woodworks and wall hanging art.
The Lost Parrot Café has only been open for a few months, but Secrest already has big plans for the future. The Lost Parrot will soon be opening for Sunday brunch and extending its hours from its current 7 am – 12 pm on weekdays, specific date unknown. This motivation for this change is sparked by the restaurant that previously occupied the space, the Cookshack, which served Sunday brunch before closing a decade ago.
“Working at a café is very community driven, and I love getting to know new people and getting to know them,” Secrest said. “It’s a lot like woodworking or working with kids because you’re creating something with your hands, and that’s an aspect of it that I really enjoy.”
Lost Parrot Café is located at 1929 Huntington Drive. More information about the Lost Parrot Café can be found on its website, www.lostparrotcafe.com/, as well as on Yelp or on Instagram at @lostparrotcafe.