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 highlight the restaurants that stepped up for the Los Angeles community this year.
Cathy Chaplin, Eater LA Associate Editor
Danielle Dorsey, LA Thrillist Editor
Honestly, I’ve been so impressed by the amount of restaurants that have committed a portion of sales to different nonprofits like No Us Without You, the Downtown Women’s Center, etc. I think the folks at Nickel Diner deserve a shoutout for all of the support they’ve given to their local unhoused community. It’s really inspiring to see.
Esther Tseng, Freelance Food Writer
Gogo’s Tacos by Brittney Valles, which is structured so that a fifth of its profits go towards the Juan Carlos Cantoni Foundation, a foundation she started in honor of her late friend. I love Valles’s focus through the foundation on transitional aged youth (18-25), their mental health and professional development. She’s constantly promoting good mental health in the kitchen at an early age, which will help change kitchen culture in a foundational way.
Evan Kleiman, Good Food host
Flavors from Afar because of their program highlighting refugee chefs in a quest to support families of refugees, immigrants, and displaced indigenous communities.
Farley Elliott, Eater LA Senior Editor
Not a restaurant specifically, but hospitality veterans Damián Diaz and Othón Nolasco are doing (still) incredible work with No Us Without You. It’s hard to think of a harder-working duo — or any non-profit, really, that is doing more for on-the-ground help in the LA restaurant community.
Josh Lurie, FoodGPS.com Founder
Hospitality professionals Damian Diaz and Othón Nolasco and their organization No Us Without You continue to make big efforts to feed undocumented restaurant workers. It’s remarkable to see people in the restaurant community step up to keep people fed, housed and hopeful.
Lesley Suter, Eater Travel Editor
I was so proud of Proof bakery becoming a cooperative — that’s so hard to pull off and it just makes the baked goods taste even better.
Matthew Kang, Eater LA Editor
Bé Ù. I just love everything that restaurant represents and wish it the utmost success.
Mona Holmes, Eater LA Reporter
I interviewed Brittany Valles earlier this year, and I love what she does for Los Angeles. She employs youngsters looking for guidance, and has a vision designed to inspire LA’s youth. I also appreciate Tiffany Hinton, the founder of Black Owned Food Week within LA. She put together a locally organized restaurant week designed to help restaurants. Post & Beam owner always shows up for the community. This year, his restaurant will serve hundreds of meals to the unhoused until the end of 2021.
Nicole Adlman, Eater Cities Manager
I learned Filipino barbecue legend the Park’s Finest, which had seemingly been in a state of dormancy since the onset of the pandemic, actually continued its Feed the Frontliners initiative in 2021 to feed health care workers in Los Angeles; to date, the restaurant and community pillar has prepared more than 90,000 meals for first responders, nurses, doctors, and other health care workers.
Patricia Kelly Yeo, Food & Drink Editor, TimeOut L.A.
Brittney Valles. Between opening Gogo’s Tacos, starting a nonprofit, and continuing to run Tiago and Guerrilla Tacos, she’s done quite a lot for L.A.’s restaurant industry.