White-hot Chinatown is getting into the food hall mix, with a new planned multi-unit property called The Apiary coming to the Jia apartment building complex. There’s currently no timetable for the opening as the place continues to get up and running, but this one has all the makings of becoming a new hub for fast casual dining in the neighborhood.
The Apiary project has been in talks for some time now, with the Orange County team behind the concept divulging the name and loose idea to the OC Weekly as far back as 2015. At the time, co-owner Leonard Chan said the project was in the “design and engineering phase,” but as is the case with most restaurants around town (let alone larger mixed projects like this), delays have kept the place from opening up just yet.
While there’s not much confirmed by way of tenants for the property yet, at least one familiar face will reportedly be making an appearance when the place opens for business down the line: Mama Musubi. The popular Japanese musubi-makers have been gaining in notoriety for years, including a big showcase on the opening roster for Smorgasburg in Downtown, and recently confirmed with Eater their plans to go permanent at The Apiary in Chinatown.
The group behind The Apiary is The Alchemists, a team well-known in Orange County for working within similar low-overhead, multi-concept parameters. They’re the team responsible for places like Shuck Oyster Bar, Taco Bandito, Hatch, and Black Sheep Brewing.
Despite no formal timetable for opening, The Apiary project should immediately become one of the more anticipated projects to hit Chinatown in a while. There’s a ton of action happening all across the neighborhood at the moment, and thanks to the LASA lunch window, Endorffeine, and Howlin’ Ray’s (among others) the nearby Far East Plaza has become a standard-bearer for quick service open-air malls in the area. Adding more high-visibility, low-entry-cost concepts can only be a good thing.
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