There are a few trends in the restaurant world that are really exciting me lately. As most people know opening and running a restaurant is expensive, time consuming, and often doesn't work long term. A few simpler approaches have gained traction that allow chefs and restauranteurs to test concepts and build an audience before committing to a costly physical location.
The Food Truck
The past few years in Los Angeles we've seen a total explosion in the quantity and variety of food trucks. The early success was the Kogi Taco Truck, Roy Choi's Korean inspired tacos. With the success of his truck, it was a natural step to open his own locations, Chego and Sunny Spot. There's more food trucks than can be easily listed here. A quick Google or this list on Yelp is a good start.
Many pop-up locations pepper the LA landscape. These "underground restaurants" are usually invite only, or have such limited seating that you'll try for weeks to get in before actually attending. My favorite part about them is how social the experience is. Usually you're eating with 20 total strangers but the shift away from the standard restaurant environment makes it easier to socialize. Here's a list of the underground restaurants that have come across my inbox:
- Wolvesmouth has been so successful they were written up in the New Yorker. Most recently, they launched a dinner that's a collaboration with the Santa Monica Museum of Art
- Starry Kitchen is the creation of Nguyen Tran and his wife and has ranged from their apartment to a cool Chinatown Jazz spot
- KTCHN DTLA is particularly interesting because they bring a brunch experience to the existing restaurant Gorbals
- The Whaling Club is a drinks-only popup bar
- Molonay Tubilderborst was a delicious farm-to-table experiment in the back of a Senor Fish
- This is not a popup
- B.R.K. Dining
- Kali Dining
- Taste Of Pace
- Handmade Events
- Vagrancy Project
- Dinner Lab just arrived in LA!
- Amalur Project
- LA Food Shop