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Inside LocoL, Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson's World-Beating Fast Food Concept in Watts

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Choi and Patterson want to change the world one bowl and burger at a time.

Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

LocoL Watts opened with what might be the biggest block party for a restaurant in a long time for the neighborhood. The first eager diners came to wait at around 7:30 a.m., well ahead of the 11 a.m. opening. With hundreds of people in line by 10:45 a.m., the energy was electric, with music blasting and celebrities showing up every minute.

But Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson were determined to show that their healthy, sustainable fast food restaurant with a chef's touch will succeed in even the most unlikely of locations. The idea started out of a chance meeting and conception at MAD Symposium back in 2014. LocoL currently has outlets slated for San Francisco's Tenderloin and Oakland, but it was a major statement to debut the affordable concept on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in this South LA neighborhood.

On the menu, $4 burgers and fried chicken sandwiches (with some grains mixed into the chicken patty), $6 chili bowls, $1 sides of spicy corn chips, and a swirl of soft serve for dessert. Noticeably absent from the offerings: soda, fries, and anything over-the-top unhealthy. Yesterday marked the first official day of business, with hours running 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. In addition, breakfast hours and menu will commence within the coming weeks.


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