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Chinatown’s Iconic Plum Tree Inn Has Closed After 40 Years

Plus a look at how the pandemic has affected a paletero, and Casa Vega’s new outdoor dining situation

Kung pao chicken from Plum Tree Inn on a plate.
Kung pao chicken from Plum Tree Inn
Plum Tree Inn [Official photo]
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.

Chinatown’s iconic Plum Tree Inn, which served for 40 years on Hill Street and eventually its Broadway location, has closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Chinese restaurant served a wide variety of dishes, as well as Sichuan specialties. “It is with a heavy heart to announce that with these uncertain times, we have made the difficult decision to close our doors permanently. We are incredibly grateful to have shared so many wonderful memories with each one of you,” said president and owner Mark Ting, whose restaurant expanded into multiple locations across LA and even into Las Vegas. Plum Tree Express, a fast-food restaurant, also opened in numerous Southern California locations, and even in Toronto, Canada. LA Magazine raved about its Peking duck as one of the best in town.

And in other news:

Casa Vega’s expansive new outdoor dining area with hanging lights and scattered tables.
Casa Vega’s expansive new outdoor dining area
Dave Schwep

— Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks, which has been trying to find a way to expand its outdoor seating, will open its brand new covered but open-air dining area today for lunch and dinner service. The restaurant says it’ll abide by all of the safety guidelines laid out by the county, just in time to comply with Gov. Newsom’s order to close indoor dining rooms yesterday. Takeout is still available, too.

— Budding ice cream chain Wanderlust Creamery has opened a new location in Fairfax in the former Carmela Ice Cream. The travel-inspired shop serves flavors using ingredients from around the world, such as a avocado, coffee, and condensed milk scoop with chocolate sprinkles, a flavor with origins in Indonesia.

— A German coffee bar and cafe called Cafe Landwer is coming to Westfield Century City with dishes like shakshuka, burgers, pizza, and schnitzel.

— STK is also open for outdoor dining in Westwood, offering a $17.76 lobster topping on steaks for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

— The LA Times has a compelling feature into the life of a paletero, or paleta vendor, during the pandemic.

— LAist weighs in on the dilemma that many restaurant workers face: risk losing unemployment benefits or come back to a workplace situation that might have health risks.

— Night + Market Sahm is open again for Thai takeout in Venice.

— Someone broke into Doubting Thomas in Historic Filipinotown and stole the cash register, which means it’ll only accept Venmo for the time being. The family-run cafe also said they believe this incident is unrelated to the important protests taking place and sees it as a random occurrence. Proceeds from sales today will go to the Leap of Dance Academy and the LA Black Worker Center.

Casa Vega

13301 Ventura Boulevard, , CA 91423 (818) 788-4868 Visit Website