clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Local Comedians Lampoon LA's Fusion Food Scene With Fake Boyle Heights Restaurant

New, 2 comments

A comedian created this fake dining fusion restaurant to make some pointed remarks

Jersey Pho by Con-fusion
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

There’s a new (and entirely fake) restaurant making waves in Los Angeles lately, and it’s called Con-fusion. The website for the non-existent eatery is the work of comedian Danny Palumbo and brother Anthony, and it’s meant as a take on all the mixed-menu places populating Los Angeles these past few years, with a little bit of conversation about gentrification thrown in.

Con-fusion’s location was intentionally placed in the Boyle Heights neighborhood, just over the river from the Arts District. The surrounding community has been a hotbed of conversation about changing demographics, which led Palumbo to astutely parody the role of restaurants in cultural food appropriation. Think of it as a next-generation version of (also fake) East Hollywood restaurant F*ck Your Worries, but with a touch more underlying seriousness.

According to the Palumbos, the comedians gather every few years to create the worst idea possible, develop a concept, cook, take pictures, and create a site. The first was Lil' Buco in 2013, a "fine dining" restaurant for kids with menu items such as a sous vide Pop Tart with cereal-infused milk. Abbrev’s launched in 2015, which specialized in abbreviated versions of dishes, such as "raw tun," a tuna tartare served in a 1/4 tablespoon measuring cup.

The Palumbos find satire to be a sharp way to address cultural food appropriation issues, not just in Los Angeles but also cities like Austin, where Danny Palumbo used to live. “We thought the idea of having a fusion restaurant in Boyle Heights is the worst ever,” says Danny Palumbo. “We had these deep conversations about fusion and gentrification and it all just fit together.”

As for faux menu items, website visitors might favor the Irish-Catholic hummus with Communion crackers, or the Jersey pho. Con-fusion’s pho combines chicken broth with Italian cold cuts, pho noodles, meatballs, parsley, fried banana pepper, roasted garlic, and marinara.

Of course, the Palumbos recommend washing everything down with a more Asian take on a Long Island iced tea, or the Japanese John Daly (made with yuzu, Southern brewed tea, Suntory rice vodka). As for the address listed for the restaurant, don’t worry: It just directs customers to the rear of a 3rd Street warehouse. Not that, given LA’s ongoing dining boom — particularly in and around Downtown — the place won’t some day be converted to an actual restaurant.

Google Maps