Here’s a funky turn of events: Michael Cardenas, new leaseholder for the shuttered Take a Bao space in Studio City, could be using the address to bring back one of his most famous Los Angeles restaurants.
First, some backstory. In November of last year, Studio City bun spot Take a Bao quietly closed after eight years, with word on the street being that serial restaurateur Michael Cardenas was stepping in to acquire the lease. He’s the man partially behind big names like BOA Steakhouse and Sushi Roku, but Cardenas also loves the modern Japanese cooking found at places like his Alhambra restaurant Izakaya Akatora.
Perhaps Cardenas’s most famous standalone restaurant, though, has been Lazy Ox Canteen, the Little Tokyo hit-maker that gave Josef Centeno his first big jump and, after that, Spanish chef Perfecto Rocher. The place closed in 2014, but apparently Cardenas has been holding onto the Instagram page this whole time, because he’s now using it to promote a new restaurant — yep, the one coming to Studio City — under the new name Mister O’s. All that has changed is the logo and the link, but the photos on the page go back years, showing off old Lazy Ox dishes from the Rocher days, and before.
Even more directly, the copy at the top of the restaurant’s Instagram page spells it all out, saying the new Mister O’s restaurant will be a “rebirthing” of Lazy Ox Canteen. It’s unclear if that means a one-for-one menu recreation or something more inspired by what was happening all those years ago in Little Tokyo; Eater reached out Cardenas directly to ask, but hasn’t heard back. In the meantime, keep watching the Mister O’s/old Lazy Ox Instagram page for food updates, and a potential opening sometime this spring.
11838 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA