In 1992, Equator Coffee House opened at 22 Mills Place. The café became a popular hotspot for office workers and students alike. Over time, Equator’s offerings evolved to include hookah, and in 2005 the site expanded to include a full menu and bar. It wasn’t until 2014 that the restaurant was rebranded and remodeled as Edwin Mills by Equator. We decided to keep “Equator” in the name because of the coffee house where it all began. Our ties to the past remain important even as we modernize our restaurant.
Edwin Mills by Equator has evolved through the years much like the surrounding community that it belongs to. At the same time, maintaining a connection to Old Pasadena’s history is one of the most important objectives for owner and Pasadena local, Teddy B.
With our quality New American menu, welcoming ambiance, and original cocktail selection, Edwin Mills by Equator serves as a cultured space for locals and beyond.
Our building dates back to 1856, at a time when Old Pasadena was vibrant and alive with culture (just like it is now). The venue we now share with other establishments, reaching from Mills Pl all the way to Fair Oaks, used to be known as the China Palace. Our portion of the building (22 Mills Pl) served as the horse stables for the larger thriving marketplace.
Fast-forward to the 1920s and the site is a favorite after-hours joint for Hollywood’s most famous. Why? Because of the tunnels underneath the building, which are still there to this day. They functioned as an Opium Den run by entrepreneurs in the local Chinese community. After Prohibition, the space was used as an Assembly Room for Model T Fords.
It would be easy to ignore the vast history. But to forget the past would be a disservice to the community and its locals. So, Teddy decided to maintain the history, in part, through the décor. The bar’s rustic brick façade, the exposed wooden beams on the ceiling, and the paneling on the walls all works together to recreate the horse stables from the 1800s.
Our goal is to keep it distinct and fresh while utilizing customary ingredients found in the traditional fare. The Brunch Menu serves Dim Sum from Monterrey Park through the company Pacific Culinary Group, the same company that serves locations like Langham and the Ritz Carlton. It doesn’t take a genius to steam up dim sum. But the reason Teddy and his longtime Chef, Arturo, chose dim sum as a brunch favorite is a callback to the history of the building and Old Pasadena. Serving dim sum is one way to keep a piece of Edwin Mills’ beautiful history intact.
The relaxing and sophisticated ambiance at Edwin Mills would be bereft without the artwork. Michael Hussar, a local Southern Californian artist, creates beautiful, provocative images that serve as focal points for the décor. Visitors from out of town often come in to snap some photos with his art before having a drink at the bar. Hussar was trained at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. And his original oil paintings can be acquired through Edwin Mills. Just ask your server for details.