Downtowners who had flocked to Peruvian eatery Chimú to sit on the sun-splattered patio and dine on pollo a la brasa were saddened to learn of Chimú's closing last weekend. Beginning Monday, the space next to the Grand Central Market will once again serve lunch, says Chimú co-owner Jason Michaud. He will re-open the eatery as Local Express, a scaled-down version of Local, his Silver Lake restaurant that emphasizes organic and locally-grown foods.
The take-out spot will be "user-friendly" with short wait times and "food that can be eaten on-the-go," he tells us via email. The menu will include lower-priced versions of favorites from Local as well some new items.
Flander's Frites will join the tentatively-named Local Express at one of its windows on Nov. 11. Michaud describes its specialty as "something we all love... fries with sauce in a cone."
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The restaurateur says he's committed to maintaining a stake in the Grand Central Market, where he wants to encourage sustainability. "I value my chance to help the market evolve into a place where the environmental impact of the packaging and the source of the food are important to the customers," he says.
Michaud hopes to eventually stay open into the wee hours. Late night service "would be great for the area," he notes. For now, the windows will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Michaud is saddened to lose Chimú, a collaboration with Alberto. "We had a dream of growing it into something that would turn the market into the heart of downtown. We tried to do something special, and...reached our mark. However we did not fit into the market and could not sustain the quality of Mario's food without more support."
Meanwhile, he plans a Dec. 1 opening for Red Hill in Echo Park. The concept is still evolving but will emphasize Michaud's philosophy of serving the neighborhood. "That means great comfort food, good prices and friendly service," he says.