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The Biggest LA Restaurant Stories of 2018

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From David Chang to hot chicken and hot tempers in the Valley

Majordomo, David Chang’s industrial restaurant, teems with Los Angeles diners.
Majordomo in Los Angeles
Wonho Frank Lee

It has been a wild year for restaurants in Los Angeles, from big-name celebrity chef openings to a number of seriously sad closures, and 2019 is shaping up to be the exact same way.

This year alone saw the arrival of both Milk Bar and David Chang’s Majordomo, along with the untimely death of vaunted food critic Jonathan Gold. Some of Eater LA’s biggest (and most fun) stories of 2018 involved Hollywood pizza-eaters having a little bit of fun, Greek diners in the middle of the desert, and Valley hot chicken cooks getting a whole lotta mad online.

Here are the biggest Eater LA stories from the year that was.

Los Angeles Times Food Critic Jonathan Gold Dead at 57

There is no more somber story for 2018 than the death of Jonathan Gold, LA’s patron saint of restaurants. The Pulitzer Prize-winner was mourned for weeks in the public eye, with obituaries running nationwide in remembrance of the man.

Jonathan Gold Writing
Jonathan Gold at work
City of Gold documentary

Hot Chicken Pop-Up Owner Threatens Yelp Reviewers Online

The aptly-named Raging Hot Chicken landed in some hot water earlier this year after owner Gabe Killian threatened physical violence against a number of Yelpers who had left negative reviews of his pop-up hot chicken parking lot business. When asked about his online activity by Eater, Killian said of one reviewer: “If I ever see him, he’s getting knocked into unconsciousness.”

How LA’s NFL Stadium Will Seal the Fate of Inglewood Restaurants

The National Football League is building a state-of-the-art football facility in the heart of Inglewood, and residents and local restaurants are already feeling the effects. What happens to a community when all that outside money suddenly shows up?

The Last Woolworth Luncheonette in America Hides in Bakersfield

Buried deep inside a multi-story antique mall in dusty Bakersfield is the last remaining still-operating original Woolworth’s luncheonette counter in America. The chili dogs (and the history) are irresistible.

Woolworths
The last Woolworth’s in Bakersfield
Farley Elliott

ICE Immigration Agents Question and Detain Workers at The Grove

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers showed up unannounced at the Grove earlier this year, pulling out workers from restaurants like Maggiano’s of Little Italy and reportedly lining them up against the wall for questioning until they could prove their legal status in the country.

Taiwanese Presidential Stop at LA Bakery Causes Political Fallout

One of the year’s more surprising geopolitical stories had an LA bent, as Taiwan’s president spent part of a long stateside layover at 85ºC Bakery, sparking widespread political fallout in China.

LA’s Notorious Dine-And-Dash Dater Strikes Again

One of Los Angeles’s oddest restaurant sagas surrounded one man, Paul Gonzales, and his allegedly uncouth ways. Gonzales was on the lam for months following a series of dine-and-dash dates where he stuck unsuspecting women with the bill at eateries across the city, but he’s since been apprehended and sentenced to four months in jail.

Milk Bar
Workers at the new Milk Bar
Wonho Frank Lee

Step Inside Milk Bar’s Sweet New Los Angeles Home

Christina Tosi’s wonderful Milk Bar has come to Los Angeles, landing a prime corner plot as part of a Melrose Avenue strip mall. The lines are long, the smiles are wide, and the sweets are in large supply.

LA Burlesque Dancer Goes Viral For Eating Pizza While on Stage

In a year of Bad Internet Things, one small bit of bliss came from a viral video of a dancer at Jumbo’s Clown Room in East Hollywood stopping in the middle of her set at the iconic bar to, well, enjoy a slice of Garage Pizza.

First Look at David Chang’s LA Restaurant Majordomo

David Chang is a big deal anywhere, but he certainly found a willing audience with his new near-Downtown restaurant Majordomo, which opened at the beginning of 2018. Chang and his team have since wrapped up several high-profile positive reviews, and are at or near the top of jut about everyone’s best new restaurant lists.

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