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Report Says LA Restaurants Are Teetering on the Edge of Failure

Plus Phat Birds closes in East LA, Jon Yao’s Michelin ambitions, and more morning news

Fiona’s dining room, with wooden tables and exposed ceiling.
Dining room at the now-closed Fiona on Fairfax
Wonho Frank Lee
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.

An investigative report by The Counter quotes numerous LA chefs and restaurant owners who say the outlook on the industry as a whole is grim due to various issues such as high costs and increased competition. Despite higher than ever sales for the industry, and an overall boom in food expenditures projected over the next ten years, the traditional full service model of restaurants might be in jeopardy due to these factors.

One of the main issues, the report claims, is that too many people want to open restaurants, with social media illusions to blame. Roxanna Jullapat, owner and baker at Friends and Family in East Hollywood, says, “social media, the stratosphere of influencers, make it seem like everything’s booming, but the places that are bubbling all the time you can count on one hand.” Other elements include the rise of delivery services and the infusion of venture capital money in the restaurant industry. It’s a long read, but an important one for anyone who cares about LA’s dining scene.

In other news:

— Jon Yao doesn’t want to compromise anymore despite winning accolades with Kato, his West LA tasting menu restaurant. The next step for Yao: opening a three-Michelin star restaurant, he tells Zagat.

— Popular roving pizza maker La Morra has secured a weekly weekend arrangement at Texino in Silver Lake serving their blistered Neapolitan pies from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, reports the LA Times.

Business at some Chinatown restaurants is down 30% due to fears of coronavirus. [LAT]

—Phat Birds, one of LA’s best fried chicken spots, has closed in East LA because it was unable to reach a lease deal with the landlord. Fans will have to wait until the Montebello location opens inside a food hall.

— The trio behind Haim just love Canter’s, enough to pose behind the counter at the Fairfax bakery and deli for their upcoming album cover:

— Moo’s Craft Barbecue says that it adamantly does not list its food on Grubhub despite it consistently showing up on the delivery service.

Canter's Delicatessen

419 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323) 651-2030 Visit Website

Phat Birds

4701 East 3rd Street, , CA 90022 (323) 526-8472 Visit Website