When Chinatown’s Lately opened with a splash in early-August, the kitchen crew produced a cheery daytime menu from a take-out window. That’s all about to change with the addition of a brand new dining room on December 17. Eater spoke with partner and MasterChef semi-finalist Becky Reams about the changes, which include much more than just a sit-down area. Here are seven things to know about Lately’s new dining room, and more.
- They had a minimal budget to work with. According to Reams, the group found creative ways to make it fun and stretch a dollar. Lately was formerly the longtime Chinatown restaurant Mandarin Chateau, and spent months tearing out and even restoring the mustard floor and Mandarin’s old neon sign.
- The interior is around 1,000 square feet with neutral wood throughout. Every table and stool is handmade, including a 10-foot communal table. Artist Coral Monday also created an original mural.
- Reams is testing an apple fritter while adding a new burger for brunch. In addition, she’s working on a fried chicken dish, along with homestyle biscuits and gravy.
- Reams describes her group as, “A ragtag crew of misfits of many talents. Everyone that’s here are people we’ve met in passing or just talented in their own right.” Lately is absorbing Aldo’s CoffeeHall, which is owned by Aldo Lihiang, and will offer Aldo’s CoffeeHall’s program at Lately.
- Richard Tranley and William Hu from MSG Studios designed the interior. Hu has an architecture background and does 3-D printing food design, while Tranley is a photographer, designer, and creative director. MSG is an LA-based design and production company that specializes in content production, event experiences, and design.
- When Reams was in the midst of her popular Bang Bang popup in 2014, she had trouble finding a space for it. Since Lately is closed at night, they’ll pay it forward by offering the space to other popups.
- On December 17, Lately will extend their of hours from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Currently Lately closes at 2 p.m.
Lately. 970 N Broadway #114, Los Angeles, CA