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100 Years In, Downtown's Grand Central Market Continues to Grow

Plus a shake up at Salazar in Frogtown, and more

China Cafe, Grand Central Market
Farley Elliott
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Changes continue at Grand Central Market

There’s always more to explore with Grand Central Market. The long-running Downtown food hall will celebrate it’s 100th birthday next year, though with all new development of the past few years you might never know it. The old place still has a few fun tricks up its sleeve though, including a revamp of the much beloved China Cafe.

Walk through GCM today and you’ll notice that the counter spot is all boarded up, with just a single sign informing diners of the situation. According to the note, the cafe is actually expanding after all these years, and should likely come back online sometime in the new year.

Where and how they’ll expand is still anyone’s guess though, as there’s not much room to maneuver up in that stretch of the market. Still, folks keep finding a way to grow at the market, just as Clark Street Bread is doing with their nearly-finished standalone space near Eggslut. And just across aisle? The shiny new Valerie Confections, with its dark woods and chocolate options galore.

Indeed, it’s still a great time to be growing and creating at Grand Central Market, even 100 years on.

Aaron Melendrez leaves Salazar

Opening bar lead Aaron Melendrez has left Salazar, the Frogtown taco option where he brought on-tap margaritas and lots of other fruitful drinks to the forefront. In a note, Melendrez says that Brandi Boles has now taken the reins there, and that he’ll have more to announce as to his next location sometime down the line.

Kato’s big dinner party

West side tasting menu favorite Kato keeps killing it, and now they’re branching out into parties with a few other chefs. First up is none other than Top Chef winner Mei Lin and former Hinoki + The Bird sous chef Kei Kurobe, who will partner with young Kato chef Jon Yao on a big 6-course dinner December 11. Details are below, but expect so-called "dressed-up dirty Asian food" for the unique price of $88.88 (plus tax & tip).

It’s King of the Smoker time

Interested in an out-of-town barbecue party? Head to Coachella Valley this weekend for King of the Smoker, which pits two dozen pit masters against one another for nearly $100,000 in purse money. The Rancho Mirage party jumps off at 1 p.m. Saturday, and entrance is a cool $10, with money going to help fight pediatric kidney disease.

Yogurt for Sunset Boulevard

That beloved former Poquito Mas on the Sunset Strip? It’s turned into a yogurt shop apparently, operating under the name Ice-Yo. The place has been given a new black matte paint job, and seems just about ready to roll.

Beer dinner happenings at Momed

Momed in Atwater Village remains a great mostly outdoor dining option for the sleepy neighborhood, even if it is tucked away from the main drag. To keep the party going the restaurant is doing a collaboration dinner with Three Weavers Brewing on Wednesday, December 7, featuring a four-course pairing that costs $55. Want in? Make the reservation with the restaurant.

Turningfire opens in Eagle Rock

There’s a new addition to Colorado Boulevard, as the so-called "chef-driven rotisserie kitchen" Turningfire comes online. The place opened quietly around Thanksgiving, but is now turning out fire-roasted meats as plates, bowls, or wraps, alongside beer and wine.