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Accomplished Minneapolis Chef Returns to LA to Open Korean-Inflected Eatery

Thomas Kim of The Left Handed Cook opens a mostly take out spot in La Crescenta

Kat Melgaard
Thomas Kim and Kat Melgaard with their daughter
Kat Melgaard

One of Minneapolis’s most highly regarded chefs has moved back to the LA area to open a restaurant in the La Crescenta/Montrose area. Thomas Kim, who along with his wife Kat Melgaard, ran popular The Left Handed Cook as well as The Rabbit Hole in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before deciding to move back to their home city.

Their restaurant, which will also be called The Left Handed Cook, goes into the former Yaki’s space along Honolulu Boulevard, which was only 750 square feet. Kim, along with his family members, originally opened and designed the menu of Redondo Beach’s popular Korean fusion burger shack The Standing Room. After divesting from the restaurant, Kim and Melgaard moved to Minneapolis to open The Left Handed Cook and The Rabbit Hole.

This La Cresenta restaurant might be the first significant eatery to open in the northern LA neighborhood in a long time, and Kim hopes to bring reasonably priced comfort fare and Korean classics to the humble strip mall location. The menu will be pared down to just the greatest hits of his Minneapolis spots, with mostly takeout and just a small number of seats inside. Eventually they open to deliver a lot of dishes to the sleepy bedroom community. Expect a duck confit dukbokki, kimchi fried rice with brisket and bacon, and a burger with caramelized onions and tomato jam.

Right now the place will focus on lunch business with some early evening hours until there’s a sustainable business for later dinner service. Kim and Melgaard hope to open by late October barring any big permit issues, and the place will be open from Monday to Saturday, closed Sundays.

The Left Handed Cook. 2901 Honolulu Avenue, La Crescenta, CA.

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