In the Future, Every Restaurant Will Be a Pop-up
A full spread
Courtesy Fat Dragon
Some older people cling to an idea that "millennials" (who, it should be noted, are approaching their 40s) have no work ethic and no loyalty to employers. That is, of course, the opposite of the truth: Big companies don't offer great benefits anymore, so some younger people have decided to create their own businesses, using creativity, connections and very little capital.
This is especially apparent in the food world, where pop-ups (nonpermanent restaurants in locations including backyards, bars and auto body shops) are becoming a regular part of the industry landscape. It's such a hot concept, in fact, that the definition is constantly expanding. Usually to suit the whims of restaurateurs.
Fat Dragon, a Cantonese–/Chinese-American–inspired Silver Lake restaurant owned by a partner in Sticky Rice Group, is launching a second location and calling it a pop-up. It's not really a pop-up, though, except that it will exist only until the end of April — it's a strictly to-go operation.
Though this second Fat Dragon will be making use of a full-fledged restaurant space (the shuttered Chinese joint next to Jon & Vinny's on Fairfax), there will be no eat-in area, or even a pickup window. Instead, the restaurant will be delivering via apps such as Postmates.
Fat Dragon will add some new items to this new menu, including black truffle and pork dumplings, and foie gras dumplings. Guess they figured the Westside wanted something fancier.
And that is the beauty and the genius of limited-run restaurant concepts: Rather than fully commit and potentially lose a staggering amount of money, Fat Dragon is conducting a (relatively) low-cost experiment. Though the principals won't talk about their reasons for opening a strictly takeout operation on Fairfax, I'd guess they're (1) seeing how they play on the Westside in general and (2) deciding if they can go up against the similar but much more established Genghis Cohen.
It might seem a little ridiculous, the way everything is called a pop-up these days, now that it has trendy connotations. But it's a really smart way of doing business: A shuttering doesn't have to be the disaster of a lifetime. And if it goes well ... in this case, more dumplings for everyone.
Available through most delivery apps, noon-10 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. fatdragonla.com.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Los Angeles dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.