If one restaurant has shaken up the world of fast food this past year, it would be LocoL. Conceived by chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, LocoL's ethically driven fast-food concept opened its first location in Watts. (It also just launched a food truck.) Focused on bringing prosperity to the neighborhood and providing more nutritious, affordable food options to a community in the middle of a food desert, LocoL is a model of what fast food could — and arguably should — be. At LocoL, Choi and Patterson have created a menu void of french fries, full of more nutrient-packed takes on classics such as an absolutely delicious barbecued turkey burger or the LocoL “burg,” a healthier take that uses fermented grains, kombu and fish sauce to amp up the flavor. With their approach, nothing is wasted; veggie scraps are used to make sauces or thrown in to flavor braises. There's also breakfast, featuring egg-in-the-hole–style sandwiches, fresh fruit, yogurt and granola, and one of the best coffees ($1 per cup) in the entire city, a blend created by Tonx just for LocoL. Beyond the food, what makes LocoL special is the care it takes in fostering community and creating a support system for the staff, uplifting and strengthening from the inside out. LocoL has gone on to open in Oakland, with plans for more locations in other states to come.

LA Weekly