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One of LA’s Most Popular Taiwanese Restaurants Expands to Downtown

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Pine & Crane’s new South Park restaurant will have a full bar and a patio, but don’t expect it to open soon

An overhead photo of mapo tofu and other Taiwanese dishes.
Mapo tofu from Pine & Crane
Pine & Crane
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Vivian Ku and the Pine & Crane team are set to make their duet of restaurants into a trio, with plans to open a large project in Downtown’s South Park neighborhood next year. Ku’s Silver Lake original Taiwanese restaurant has become of the busiest places to dine anywhere in Los Angeles basically since day one, and the 2018 casual follow-up Joy in Highland Park is equally as beloved. Now comes a third, still unnamed project, that should offer enough space for diners to spread out.

“We’re always trying to challenge ourselves, and grow for the right reasons,” says Ku, who had plans to move forward with the project well before the pandemic began. “There’s a constant goal to serve new guests.”

Ku tells Eater that the project will more closely resemble Pine & Crane than the more laid-back, street-food-focused Joy on York in Highland Park. That means some greatest hits dishes from both places, as well as new dishes that Ku has always wanted to work on — including Taiwanese breakfast. “It’s my favorite meal in the whole world,” says Ku.

The new restaurant situates itself on the ground floor of the recently-built Aven mixed-use building on Grand, just steps from South Park staple Barcito. The space will allow for an ample patio that seats around 50, and an interior dining area for 70 or more. The restaurant will also carry a full liquor license, meaning Taiwanese breakfast, casual lunch, and cocktails with dinner. Preen (Piccalilli, Yapa, Howlin’ Ray’s) will design the restaurant.

Don’t expect the next Pine & Crane project to open soon at 1120 S. Grand Avenue. Ku says an arrival in spring 2021 is likely, and given the ongoing pandemic and future restaurant uncertainty that could be a moving target. Meanwhile, Pine & Crane and Joy recently reopened for takeout and delivery service in Silver Lake and Highland Park, respectively.