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Baroo, LA’s Award-Winning Fermentation Restaurant, to Close at End of October

The award-winning restaurant has been short-staffed as of late

Baroo Dish 1
Dish at Baroo
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.

Beloved strip-mall gem Baroo is closing its doors this month, ending a three-year run for the lauded Hollywood-area restaurant.

The Los Angeles Times was first to report on the shutter, which according to them is coming on October 27. Eater reached out to chef-owner Kwang Uh to discuss the final days, but so far has not heard back.

The closure will bring to an end one of the coolest restaurant stories of the past few years in Los Angeles. Uh, along with founding partner Matthew Kim, has been running the Santa Monica Boulevard restaurant since the summer of 2015, when word started to leak out about the fun, funky menu items hiding inside under a blank sign. The pair worked prodigiously with fermentation and rarely let any single dish slip over $15, leading to hordes of curious food fans who found they could feast at the frenetic restaurant without breaking the bank.

Baroo Pasta
Ragu from Baroo
Wonho Frank Lee

Curious diners came and so too did the critics, including Besha Rodell (then of LA Weekly) and the late Jonathan Gold, who called the restaurant taste of the future. In 2016, Baroo was listed as a James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist, and was ranked the No. 5 new restaurant in Bon Appetit’s influential annual list.

Baroo was always terribly understaffed, though, which led to both Uh and Kim feeling overmatched and overworked. Uh even took a sabbatical back to South Korea at the end of 2016 to stay at a Buddhist temple for a time, and there was speculation then than the restaurant could close. It did not, though with Kim recently having left, Uh has been made to run the place largely by himself.

So now the moment has come to move on, Uh tells the Times. He says to expect long waits in the final days as the restaurant remains basically a one-man show, with a menu that reflects some of Baroo’s earliest dishes. As for what’s next for Uh, he isn’t saying.

Baroo. 5706 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA.