Frogtown sandwich hit Wax Paper is on the move, jumping from its admittedly claustrophobic digs near the LA River in Frogtown to a big second new storefront in the thick of Chinatown. The expansion onto Broadway’s golden United Foods Building will keep the tucked-away original location in place, while adding something like four times more square footage to their arsenal.
The United Foods Building is situated almost directly across the street from Far East Plaza, home to heavy-hitters like Howlin’ Ray’s, Lasa, Lao Tao, and Chego. The property was reportedly at one time an actual food processing plant, but over the years has been segmented into a variety of small storefronts, from a 99-cent store on down. Now Wax Paper is hopping inside along with a couple of other tenants, hoping to give the building a spike in foot traffic and give the neighborhood something new to try.
According to owner Lauren Lemos, the new space covers some 1,000 square feet. That means not only a much roomier kitchen for the team — a must, considering how often they sell out in Frogtown – but for the diner as well. There will be a few stools to sit on and a scattering of tables and chairs, and with any luck the menu will grow slightly with several more NPR-themed sandwiches and some sides.
Beyond this Wax Paper expansion, Lauren and Peter Lemos are still working on a separate all-day project called Lingua Franca, to open hopefully sometime next year in Frogtown. Meanwhile, they should have at least one other new tenant joining them in the Chinatown jump: L.A. Brisket, a casual barbecue operation with locations in Artesia and Costa Mesa. The Lemos team says they’re hoping to start serving in Chinatown before the end of the year.
Interestingly enough, Chinatown has long been a kind of sandwich nexus for Los Angeles. Not only is Philippe’s still going strong after 110 long years, but there’s also the ageless Eastside Market Deli up on the hill, po’ boys from Little Jewel of New Orleans, and a variety of banh mi from places like My Dung Sandwich Shop. And that’s to say nothing of the Howlin’ Ray’s fried chicken sandwich, which rivals even the godmother from Bay Cities in overall popularity.
Wax Paper. 736 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, CA.