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Downtown’s Next Japanese Fried Chicken Hit Comes From a Top Chef Alum

Kuniko Yagi’s Pikunico prepares to start serving in a month

Signage for Pikunico

Chef Kuniko Yagi’s standalone Pikunico project is getting awful close. The casual Downtown daytime restaurant is set to open at the Row development sometime next month.

Pikunico represents the first standalone project for Yagi since leaving her post at Hinoki & the Bird in Century City several years ago. The former Rising Star winner and Top Chef contestant has been hosting pop-ups and doing a ton of consulting in the interim, and for a time had plans to open a couple of different restaurant projects around Downtown, including a retro Japanese diner to be called Tokyo Strike.

Now it’s all about Pikunico, an easygoing new Japanese karaage (fried chicken) spot with a laid-back picnic feel. Chicken will be available as a sandwich, rice bowl, and beyond, with other takeaway items available like salads and sides, plus on-site craft beer. Yagi is opening up the restaurant as a partnership with Kaizen Dining Group (Kabuki, Tengoku Ramen Bar), and if all goes well she and the team could expand the fast casual footprint of Pikunico across the city, and beyond.

This first storefront will land next month right inside the bustling Row development, and should open alongside heavy hitters like Tartine and Chris Bianco’s Manufactory around the corner. Go Get Em Tiger coffee shop and San Francisco’s Michelin-worthy Melissa Perello are also opening up at the Row in due time, while Rappahannock Oyster Bar, Paramount Coffee Project, Hayato, and the Sunday-only Smorgasburg anchor the dining scene there already.

Pikunico. 767 Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA.

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