Let's say that you and your steady have stopped at the bakery one Sunday morning, and something about the way your loved one eats a cream puff suddenly makes you realize this is the person you want to marry. If you were at La Cuarta bakery downtown, you could pay for the engagement ring along with your cinnamon roll.
La Cuarta is just one example of dual businesses that have sprung up in Southern California. In an era of mall-consciousness, the only way a small business proprietor can compete is to specialize. And some of the cleverest have learned to specialize twice--by running completely unrelated businesses out of the same location.
Binary businesses are nothing new, nor are they always unusual combinations: Barbers and dentists were once one and the same, and there's nothing strange about a lunch counter in the rear of a department store.
The idea is also not exclusive to Los Angeles. The franchised Duds 'n' Suds--a combination self-service laundry and beer bar--is cleaning up all over the Midwest. And nothing can beat Portland, Oregon's late, lamented butcher shop and religious bookstore--Better Beef and Bible.
But Greater Los Angeles has quite a respectable array of its own, and most of them are thriving. Herewith, a few of our favorite two-in-ones. Just in case you're invited to a formal pizza party and you haven't got a thing to wear.