What's the difference between a trendy food court and a traditional one? Less Sbarro, more Hainan chicken. Westfield Santa Anita is dipping its toes in the fast casual dining hall game with the emergence of Food Alley, a new lineup of small concepts slated to take over a stretch of the large Arcadia mall in LA's San Gabriel Valley.
The plan with Food Alley is to group together a slew of smaller concepts as a sort of miniature food hall (or like a tiny Singapore-style hawker center) right inside the mall, next to that glittering new Din Tai Fung space. There will be slots for Matcha Matcha, an easy to identify matcha shop, plus udon purveyor Tsurumaru Udon Honpo and an outlet of EMC Seafood & Raw Bar, which operates larger sit-down spaces across Los Angeles.
One of the more intriguing restaurants to make for Food Alley is Side Chick, a Hainan chicken and rice stop operated by former Eggslut chef de cuisine Johnny Lee. The space he’s taking over has been in construction a while now, but things are coming together quickly as the mall hopes to begin rolling out the new restaurants soon. Lee and his team have also been working Smorgasburg in Downtown lately, should the need for Hainan chicken strike before the restaurant at Westfield Santa Anita is ready.
In all, expect seven different concepts to come to life across Food Alley. That’s in addition to the massive complex’s many other offerings, from a Dave & Buster’s to Dongpo, an offshoot of the glamorous Meizhou Dongpo from Century City. The overall food hall-ish concept is also in line with the city’s growing trend of clustering shopping destinations together with densely-packed food outlets, be they across the street from the Americana at Brand, or backed by a celebrity chef and tucked deep inside The Beverly Center.