Downtown LA's Art Walk transformed Spring Street into a mobile eatery restaurant row on Thursday night. Nom Nom truck, Dosa truck, Cool Haus, Skewers on Wheels and Marked 5 were all lined up like a haphazard convoy. But the real show was a block or so further south, where Ilan Hall had a suckling pig turning on a spit on the sidewalk outside his still-closed restaurant the Gorbals. Well, the Gorbals was actually kind of open. Walk in the doors and there was a cash bar and a handful of arty folks mingling while Hall hurried around the open kitchen making mac-and-cheese to accompany the sucking pig. And the cotton candy. Weird combination, maybe, but it was oddly congruous, given the carnivaleque mood outside. A man on stilts got dressed in white gothic bridal finery inside the restaurant, then strolled outside to sway near the rotating pig while art-walkers ate pink cotton candy and snapped pictures.
Hall paused while cutting wedges of Tillamook cheddar to say that the Gorbals will open next week. "Maybe Tuesday," Hall shrugged, gesturing towards the restaurant's interior, which still vaguely resembles a construction site. "We replaced the boiler in a day and they kept wanting to see more." The Gorbals, as you may recall, was shut down early last month by the LA County's Dept. of Public Health due to a boiler system violation.
Hall says one issue is the condition of the 1906 building. "We had to rip out the walls, knock them open with sledgehammers. It sucks. I'd painted the whole restaurant myself."
As far as the evening's festivities were concerned, Hall smiled. "Why the pig? Why the man on stilts? Why the hell not."