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The Downtown LA Dining Renaissance Still Has a Ways to Go

Plus the culture of customer no-shows, and the return of Taco Madness

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Barcito in South Park
Wonho Frank Lee
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.

South Park still has a ways to go

Despite Downtown’s successes, it can still be pretty pass or fail in South Park. The stretch below Olympic that pours out towards Staples Center and South LA is in the midst of a building boom, but day-to-day business can still be tight for restaurants in the area.

Just ask The Briks, which quietly closed down a few days ago. A viable option for pre-show diners for years, the place couldn’t hold on as more competition cropped up without the daily diners to keep everyone in the business fed. There are thousands of rental units and expensive lofts going up all around places like Broken Spanish and Barcito, but until they’re actually completed (and filled with willing eaters), South Park remains a tough — but enticing — place to land.

The return of Taco Madness

It’s time to get wild with a bunch of votes for your favorite tacos around. This year’s seeding for the annual competition over at L.A. Taco is a bit different than in years past: Taqueros will be lining up their best across categories, to hopefully bring in a bit more opportunity for upstart spots around town. Make your selections now.

A bad doughnut moment

Scary stuff from Canoga Park yesterday, as a sanitation truck barreled through the front of a doughnut shop on Sherman Way. As ABC7 reports, the driver was transported to the hospital but is expected to make a full recovery.

Kevin Meehan x Miles Thompson 2.0

Last time Meehan and Thompson met for a joint dinner was at Michael’s in Santa Monica (Thompson’s restaurant) but now he’s heading to Kali for the evening on Monday, April 3 for a five-course dinner of one-off options like uni over crispy polenta and a tuna ‘nduja risotto agnolotti. Tickets are $70 a head.

Burritos are the new taco

Burritos La Palma gets some rave reviews from the OC Weekly team, with writer Gustavo Arellano fawning over owners Albert and Lauren Bañuelos. It’s hard not to imagine why: Burritos La Palma is delicious.

Andy Ricker and Andy Richter

Just in the nick of time, Andy Richter showed up to wave farewell to Pok Pok chef/owner Andy Ricker. The two often get their names mixed up online, but now there is definitive proof that they are, indeed, separate men.

Now nobody can say we've never been seen in the same place at the same time!

A post shared by Andy Ricker (@pawkhrua) on

The eggy nuance of a Downtown newcomer

There’s a quiet new dining option in Downtown, situated on the ground floor of the glitzy Tuck Hotel. Sitting just steps from Preux & Proper and across the street from Verve, this glossy new option puts eggs on just about everything, says LA Times, and that seems to be a good thing.

How it went down at Simbal

Chef Shawn Pham has opened up to LA Downtown News about the closure of his well-received Downtown restaurant Simbal, and the challenges he faces moving forward. It’s a stark but important read about the industry, including some deep looks at reservations, walkability, and the high cost of “cheap food”.

Michael Voltaggio’s one request

One of the reasons folks like Shawn Pham of Simbal cite for closing their restaurants? No show reservations. That’s why Michael Voltaggio is apparently taking it upon himself to find lost reservations in this funny new look from the OpenTable team.