After months of waiting, George Laguerre's Echo Park restaurant TiGeorges' Chicken is finally on the road to recovery. Not unlike Laguerre himself and his native Haiti, or at least we hope. TiGeorges' Chicken closed in February, after a fire destroyed the roof of the building. Since then, Laguerre has been in limbo, waiting for the building's owner to decide how and when to rebuild. LA Downtown News reported on Monday that construction has finally begun. When we talked to Laguerre this afternoon, he said that now "it's just a question of time."
The chef and restaurateur spent the morning on the phone ("the plan has been approved") and expects the restaurant to reopen in much the same state it was before. "The fire never got to the inside of the restaurant. Everything was intact." Laguerre said that the the fire marshal determined that the roof needed to be repaired, but that figuring out the logistics of that has taken much longer than expected. "I don't have the money to do anything fancy," said Laguerre about the rebuilding, reassuring us that his glorious, medieval-looking chicken spit survived the fire just fine.
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Laguerre's restaurant became the locus for Los Angeles relief efforts after Haiti's devastating January 12th earthquake, and having his business destroyed just a month afterwards might have daunted someone less resilient. "I'm a guy who can take punches," said Laguerre. An understatement, maybe. Since his restaurant closed, the chef has been busy running his online coffee business, with coffee from his family's farm in Haiti. And on Saturdays, until TiGeorges' reopens, you can find Laguerre temporarily operating out of Caveman Kitchen. Where he'll make you a cup of his outstanding Haitian coffee, and probably give you more news than we can.