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Josiah Citrin of Melisse Will Take Over The Line Hotel’s Restaurants

The Santa Monica chef brings his talents to Koreatown

Josiah Citrin stands in a chef’s coat, arms crossed.
Josiah Citrin
The Line Hotel [Official photo]
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

LINE LA has a talented new chef to helm its room service and two restaurants — Josiah Citrin. The Melisse and Charcoal chef, who also oversees the casual Dave’s Dog House inside Staples Center and eventually Santa Monica, will take over the trendy Koreatown hotel. This comes just off the news that Roy Choi has vacated his five year tenure, which will eventually result in Commissary’s closure. Meanwhile, Alfred Coffee has taken over the ground floor cafe while the rest of the property gets a minor refresh to make way for Citrin.

This move is significant for Citrin for a number of reasons. There are rumors that his nineteen-year-old fine dining restaurants Melisse in Santa Monica will likely close next year after the lease runs out. Citrin hopes to retain control of the Westside property and turn it into something different. But in the meantime, this new LINE LA partnership could mean Citrin will bring a refined sensibility to the bustling Koreatown hotel.

Sydell Group, which operates LINE LA, will bring Citrin in by August to take over room service. Meanwhile, the restaurants will undergo some cosmetic changes that Sydell will announce in the fall. Sydell Group’s founder and CEO Andrew Zobler said he always liked Citrin and wanted to help the chef bring his native LA flavors to a more central location. While Zobler insists that he was happy with what Roy Choi accomplished, Zobler thinks Citrin will bring an elevated sensibility, though not necessarily more formality, to the dining experiences at The Line.

Commissary, Koreatown
Commissary, The Line Hotel
The Line Hotel [Official photo]

Citrin will open two restaurants at LINE LA, one in the Commissary space next to the pool on the mezzanine, and another in the hotel lobby. It’s unclear if the lobby one goes into Choi’s former POT restaurant, or if the eatery will take over another space. One thing is certain, Zobler says they’re going to change the look and feel of the lobby to add more lounge seating, taking out some tables in the process. Zobler hopes to bring more daytime energy to LINE LA because in its prior format the lobby was more conducive to evening and late night activity.

Here’s what Citrin had to say on his move to Koreatown: “I am excited to open at the LINE in Koreatown. While Santa Monica has been my home for close to 20 years, I have been looking to expand into new neighborhoods around the city. When this opportunity arose to work with Sydell Group and the LINE, a company and brand I highly respect and admire, I knew it was the perfect time and location for me.” This is a big move east for a chef who’s anchored most of his career west of the 405. The Line hotel gives Citrin access to a much bigger swath of the dining public who might’ve been hesitant to go all the way to Santa Monica or Venice to try the food.

Sydell Group continues to work with Roy Choi, with the Korean-American chef headed to Vegas to open a restaurant called Best Friend inside the newly remodeled Park MGM resort.