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LA’s Most Anticipated 2021 Restaurant Openings and Comebacks, According to Industry Experts

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From ambitious Arts District restaurants to South LA coffee destinations, these are LA’s biggest openings next year

Future entrance to Junya Yamasaki’s Arts District restaurant.
The future entrance to Yess, Junya Yamasaki’s anticipated Arts District restaurant
Matthew Kang

2020 will be the year that upended the restaurant industry. It’s difficult to talk about the year in review when everything changed, when people and businesses suffered during the pandemic. In light of the challenging year for everyone in Los Angeles, we asked food writers and industry folks which restaurants they are hoping will open or make a comeback in 2021.

Mona Holmes, Eater LA Reporter

Over the last three years, South LA saw a rise in the number of independent and Black-owned cafes open throughout View Park, Windsor Hills, Inglewood, Jefferson Park, and beyond. It’s been a refreshing change from the area being dominated by corporate chains for so many years. I’m most looking forward to the opening of Red Bay Coffee. The Oakland-based company is building a community hub, cafe, and roastery that will ultimately be right across the street from Harold & Belle’s in Jefferson Park. I look forward most to getting a coffee and pastry, getting a table, setting up a work area, and enjoy watching the world go by. I miss staking out cafes, and a new Black-owned one in LA will help make me feel normal again. Whatever “normal” means anymore.

Joshua Lurie, FoodGPS.com founder

Based on the stellar lunch I had at the Charter Oak with Katianna Hong leading the kitchen, and consider I enjoy Korean food so much, I’m looking forward to Yangban Society, the restaurant she’s opening with her husband John in the Arts District.

Danielle Dorsey, LA editor, Thrillist

I can’t wait to see what East LA native Mario Christerna brings to The Paramount in Boyle Heights in 2021. I’m excited to try his newly debuted Brooklyn Ave Pizza Co. and support the bar program once it opens, not to mention have a sit-down meal at Poblador, Christerna’s tribute to Alta California cuisine next door.

Esther Tseng, freelance writer

Shiku, by the Baroo people.

Jim Thurman, freelance writer

Right now, it’s still hard to look too far forward. I will wait and see.

Farley Elliott, Eater LA senior editor

Salt Bae! Just kidding. I’m looking forward to Yangban Society in the former Bon Temps space, and for Lowkey Burritos to go permanent in Koreatown.

Oren Peleg, Eater LA contributor, freelance writer

Honestly, the return of the industry itself is what I’m most excited for. This has been a brutal period for restaurants and I’m sure it’s not over yet. Once we’re on the other side of things, though, the industry will be ripe for a renaissance with new ideas and fresh talent. I cannot wait to see what takes shape!

Euno Lee, Eater LA writer

I just want all restaurants to hurry up and reopen and be booked the hell out as soon as it’s safe to do so.

Hadley Tomicki, L.A. Taco

I’m always excited to see what might be up Ray Garcia’s sleeves next, but mostly I’m excited to just be able to get out and sit in a room full of people I don’t know again. Anywhere.

Matthew Kang, Eater LA editor

I hope Dave Beran’s Dialogue comes back with a bigger, better space. I thought that closure was really upsetting considering the streak Beran was on, though I realize the unsustainability of the tiny 18-seat space. I hope Kato comes back with a stronger situation too, either in its original West LA space or a bigger one. I’m also hopeful Somni returns to LA in some form as it was clearly headed for big accolades before its untimely closure. In terms of new openings, I think Yangban Society is my personal most anticipated restaurant as it will incorporate modern Korean flavors in a now historic space that has already held Bon Temps, Fifty Seven, and Petty Cash Taqueria. Another big upcoming opening will be Junya Yamasaki’s Yess, which opens in Arts District next year.

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