Welcome to the Year in Eater 2021 — an annual tradition that looks back at the highs, lows, and in-betweens of Los Angeles’s restaurant scene. Today, LA’s finest food writers, editors, and reporters share their thoughts on the saddest restaurant closures of the year.
Caroline Pardilla, Freelance Writer and Eater LA Contributor
I was bummed when Hideout Sycamore closed so soon after only being open for three weeks. It was so good to see Julian Cox back behind a bar in LA making cocktails, but then alas that joy was short-lived.
Cathy Chaplin, Eater LA Associate Editor
Cindy’s Noodle House in Arcadia and M. Georgina in Downtown. Sigh.
Esther Tseng, Freelance Food Writer
Spoon by H. The way that they had to close because they were scammed by customers making charge-backs on large orders was tragic. While it was great to see their patrons and the restaurant community help fund their comeback, I wish there weren’t such ways to cheat independent mom-and-pop restaurants like this in the first place. Credit card companies, not just the restaurant industry, also need to realize the customer isn’t always right. Regardless, I look forward to their new restaurant. Belcampo is also up for debate because of the way they could not scale and had to resort to lying to their customer base (thereby forcing their employees to lie, as well) in order to keep up with appearances. The better customers are educated on supply chain issues and the costs they incur, the more realistic and transparent our food systems can be — however shiny the business’s Instagram account appears be damned.
Evan Kleiman, Good Food host
Spoon by H.
Farley Elliott, Eater LA Senior Editor
Obviously, the loss of Spoon by H has been hard to swallow but for me, personally, it’s Culver City’s Tattle Tale Room, hands down. The first LA dive bar I ever loved, and a stalwart in the inexpensive Westside drinking pantheon. I still keep a wooden token in my car, good for a free drink that I guess I’ll have to use in some other lifetime.
Lesley Suter, Eater Travel Editor
Here’s Looking at You! But it’s reopening so all’s well in the world!
Josh Lurie, FoodGPS.com Founder
This list would be long, but losing Spoon By H was particularly rough, especially after learning customers took advantage of chef-owner Yoonjin Hwang during the pandemic. That’s just cruel. Conversely, I’m thrilled to see Lien Ta and Jonathan Whitener revive Here’s Looking At You in Koreatown. It’s a Festivus miracle!
Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor
Spoon by H. Easily the saddest closure of the year, and I hope chef Yoonjin Hwang reopens again somewhere else.
Mona Holmes, Eater LA Reporter
Oil Can Harry’s will forever be a tremendous loss for Los Angeles and its queer community. And then there’s Barcito. I have so much respect for Andrea Borgen, who tried her very best to make things work throughout the pandemic while making sure Barcito staff kept their health care. Also, some of the saddest losses this year were the deaths of Alta Adams wine director Ruben Morancy, who was truly kind and knowledgeable. And I will also miss chef Calvin Alexander of Chef C’s Smokhin Pot, who died due to COVID-19 complications.
Nicole Adlman, Eater Cities Manager
Before Spoon by H’s experimental Korean comfort dishes were given a national platform by David Chang, it was my local hang when I lived just south of it in Fairfax: I frequented the cafe for teas, noodles, desserts, and a quiet place to write. That it closed, in part, due to fraudulent customer claims with credit card companies, made the loss even more gutting.
Patricia Kelly Yeo, Food & Drink Editor, TimeOut L.A.
Spoon by H.