Josh Goldman and Richie Lopez want you to know that Yapa means “a little something extra” in Quechua, exuding a sense of hospitality and generosity at their new Little Tokyo restaurant and cocktail spot, opening October 17. Everyone gets a welcome beverage once they sit down in the corner space, which was once Seoul Sausage, but now looks pretty different with warm tones and tons of hanging greenery.
Richie Lopez, previously of Mo-Chica and Paiche, draws from his Peruvian heritage and tutelage under Ricardo Zarate. Yapa’s menu is more forward with Nikkei, or Peruvian-Japanese, flavors, but isn’t afraid to take on inspiration from LA’s dining scene as well. Lopez worked with Josh Goldman for at Santa Monica’s Brilliantshine, and the idea is to pair the food with Goldman’s excellent cocktails. An autumn-appropriate Pine & Dandy mixes agave with elderberry and pine for a luscious red cocktail as Lopez constructs a fried korokke with corn and yellow peppers.
Design comes from Alexis Readinger of Preen Inc. while gardening help comes from Natalie Vie, who will tend to that lush patio that shields diners from the street. Jess Starwood of Sunraven Apothecary will be the assigned forager, finding seasonal and wild ingredients to use in the kitchen and beyond. Yapa will be open 6 to 11 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday.