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What’s Old Is New in LA’s Enduring Pop-Up Scene

Plus a hilarious new take on Sqirl’s Instagram fame, and more

Crafted Kitchen, Arts District
Crafted Kitchen
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.

A new Downtown pop-up situation

It’s an interesting time for the pop-up restaurant in Los Angeles at the moment. Once a highlight experience for in-the-know diners during the food truck boom and early rise of LA’s stellar dining scene, pop-ups have once again returned mostly to the quiet shadows. With the limited overhead of only serving a couple nights a week (if that) either in your own home kitchen or someone else’s inexpensive space, there has always been something appealing about pop-ups for young chefs, but with so many restaurateurs focusing heavily on opening in high traffic areas like Downtown, how can anyone without a sign out front and consistent hours compete?

One possible answer comes from collaboration, with chefs pooling resources (or, in some cases, operating under a shared landlord) to bring varied experiences to the same address night after night. That’s the modern model Feastly has been after in the Arts District, and now comes Crafted Kitchen to the very same neighborhood.

Owned by Cindi Thompson, Crafted Kitchen works as a shared kitchen and events workspace, with a variety of options for chefs to use the space as they see fit. That could mean a per-hour lease on the dining room, or the option to buy out one of the separate prep kitchen spaces with an annual lease.

In a way, that makes the Crafted Kitchen model something of a hybrid between traditional pop-ups (one chef, one location, ongoing), more modern pop-ups (one location, rotating chefs), and open prep kitchen rental facilities like LA Prep, which rent ongoing space to cottage food industry types like Semolina Artisan Pasta, who can then sell their products on store shelves everywhere. It’s a nimble model, and with a big patio on site and the traditional warehouse feel of the Arts District, one that could serve Crafted Kitchen well — particularly as Los Angeles’ pop-up culture continues to innovate.

Library Alehouse turns 21

Time to crack open a beer (legally), as Library Alehouse in Santa Monica turns 21 this year. The beloved beer bar is throwing a party tonight that will include a ton of bespoke beers from both Firestone Walker and Boulevard Brewing. They’ll be doing more down the line too, but this is the big birthday party to be at.

Toothpix does it again

In their latest 12-second Yelp-skewering videos, the Toothpix team takes on all things Sqirl. Without spoiling anything (you should really just watch the video below), expect a lot of self-reflective chuckling about the real reason everyone goes there to eat breakfast.

sqirl. #toothpix @sqirlla @lauramaxwell @stujenkins

A video posted by TOOTH PIX (@toothpix) on

Shake Shack’s app-tastic ways

Sick of waiting in line for your order at Shake Shack? As of Monday, there’s an app for that. Available for the West Hollywood, Glendale, and Hollywood locations, the iOS app handles ordering and pick-up.

Lots to love at Lost at Sea

Pasadena’s Lost at Sea keeps racking up the accolades, this time from the SGV Tribune. The publication lauds the Holly Street new(ish)comer for their quality seafood, charmingly casual ambiance, and powerful wine list.

Sweetgreen Culver City comes out swinging

The new R&D arm of Sweetgreen is ready to roll, announcing a party today from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to let locals get a taste of what to expect. The new home store for the entire company will have music and small bites from both Sweetgreen chef Michael Stebner as well as Jason Neroni from Rose Cafe in Venice. And yes, it’s free, so all you’ve got to do is show up.

Your fancy new Starbucks is here

Remember that short-lived La Boulange on La Brea? Meant to be an all-day cafe operated by the Starbucks brand but with a decidedly different feel, the place instead suffered a quick corporate fate and closed for good. Then rumor had it the bones were going to be converted into one of those all-day Starbucks, which is exactly what’s come to pass. No official word on hours or anything, but driving by two days ago the place certainly appears to be open.