Now, Michaud's new plans are falling into place: Local Express (an offshoot of the Silver Lake Local) has established itself in the old Chimú spot. Flanders Frites, selling Belgian fries, arrived in mid-November to share space and collaborate. Beginning this week, the two will serve breakfast at 8 a.m., and stay open until the market's close at 6 p.m. Soon, they'll offer curbside pick-up, Michaud says. Meanwhile, construction continues at Red Hill, Michaud's Echo Park restaurant. The opening date of Dec. 1 has been tentatively pushed back to Dec. 13 -- his 40th birthday.
Michaud says he'll serve the Local breakfast menu at Local Express. (Dishes such as pancakes, waffles, French toast, chilaquiles, and eggs.) He also would like to make donuts, and is devising a recipe from a 1920s donut cookbook.
On a recent lunch-time visit, the chalkboard menu offered several sandwiches including a Sloppy Joe (your choice of pork or tempeh), curried chicken salad, vegetarian Reuben, heritage pork burger and BLT with avocado and cheddar.
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Belgian-style frites -- fries in a cone with dipping sauces -- are the specialty at Flander's. "No ketchup," says chef-owner Paul Greenstein. Instead, you can have Dutch Mayo, Garlic Mayo, Satay, Curry, or Brown. Greenstein cuts the potatoes and dunks them in peanut oil on site. The menu also offers beef, chicken, and cheese croquettes, as well as currywurst -- homemade sausage with curry sauce.
The fries venture is new for Greenstein, who's worked in L.A. restaurants since the 1970s, including the Atomic Café, Madame Wong's, and Millie's Café. "I've had no training for anything, so it's like everything else I've done," he says, half-jokingly. Greenstein's most visible contribution to L.A. restaurants and other businesses have perhaps been the neon signs gracing their facades. "I've made almost every big neon sign in town from the last 30 years," he says. That includes the Flanders Frites sign, aglow in blue and red with the words "Patat & Kroket," plus the former Chimú sign, which featured a dragon.
Plans for the space are still evolving, Greenstein and Michaud are quick to point out. "We're still figuring out what people in this area need," says Michaud. "We're flying by the seats of our pants."