There are plenty of reasons to be excited about 2016. In the new year you can look forward to the unveiling of Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson's long-awaited fast food restaurant, the arrival of Danny Meyer's wildly successful burger chain, an intriguing noodle concept from the owner of Chengdu Taste and a historic L.A. tiki bar that should appeal to drinkers everywhere. And that's just a small taste of what's to come.
The biggest news for burger fans in 2015 was the planned arrival of Shake Shack, restaurateur Danny Meyer’s old-school-but-elevated burger stand, which has been expanding across the country (and world) like wildfire. L.A.’s first location is set to open in West Hollywood early in the year, with another slated for Glendale shortly thereafter.
After pushing back its planned Christmas Day opening date, Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi’s aspirational “fast food” concept in Watts is slated for a late-January opening. Menu details have leaked out slowly, but highlights so far include burgers, wraps and $1 sides called “Yotchays,” which range from spicy corn chips and “messy greens” to beef-onion gravy.
Pacific Seas Tiki Bar
Clifton’s Cafeteria is now open and doing brisk business, but tiki aficionados are holding their breath for the debut of this fourth-floor tiki bar. A spirited revival of the former Clifton’s Pacific Seas cafeteria, Pacific Seas will feature plenty of rum-soaked drinks and tropical baubles salvaged from Bahooka, the iconic Rosemead tiki bar that closed in 2013.
Mian by Chengdu Taste
After launching three successful locations of Sichuan kingpin Chengdu Taste (two in L.A., one in Vegas), restaurateur Tony Xu's next concept will focus on spicy noodles and is expected to open early this year. Located in San Gabriel, Mian (Mandarin for noodles) will offer dishes currently unavailable on the Chengdu Taste menu, including a Chongqing-style riff on ramen powered by plenty of Sichuan peppercorn.
Former Bouchon chef Johnny Ray Zone debuted his Nashville-inspired hot fried chicken truck in 2015 to much acclaim, but was adamant about finding a brick-and-mortar location for his finger-lickin' birds as soon as possible. After a deal to move into the old Littlefork space in Hollywood fell through, Zone zeroed in on Chinatown's Far East Plaza, home to Chego, Pok Pok Phat Thai, Ramen Champ and other businesses. When it opens on the first floor early next year, Howlin' Ray's will be the plaza’s first non-Asian restaurant concept.
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