Famed Los Angeles chef Mark Peel has plans to grow his empire by embracing the new price-conscious fast casual model with Prawn, a seafood-focused outlet landing at Grand Central Market and elsewhere soon. Food & Wine has details on Peel’s big plans, including a flip of his current GCM gem Bombo in an eatery with more traditional seafood fare like fish & chips and lobster rolls.
Those pricey steam kettles from the Bombo run won’t be going anywhere, they’ll still be turning out seafood stews and all the usual stuff you might have expected. Instead, the new Prawn will basically act as a menu reformatting into other areas, with an emphasis on keeping the supply chain close and prices low. Peel says that with some tweaking (yes, he’ll be using frozen seafood in places) he should be able to craft a delicious lobster roll for $14, and keep most other dishes right around the $10 watershed mark.
It’s an ambitious project, but one Peel seems capable of taking on. He’s spent decades in the kitchens of finer dining establishments like Spago, Michael’s, and his own signature Campanile (which closed in 2012), so turning to today’s more common fast casual model feels like a challenge he’s ready for. Peel admits that he’ll spend more time training staff and caring about the price-to-quality ratio of his ingredients, but that’s all part of the game.
And if all goes well, Peel plans to bring Prawn to a new location in Pasadena before the end of the year as well. Future iterations could land anywhere from the Westside to the South Bay, with a reliance on a central commissary kitchen hub for daily basics each restaurant needs. In the meantime, expect Bombo to flip to Prawn, and keep your eye on Pasadena to follow.