One of Mexico City’s biggest restaurant groups has quietly laid plans for a Los Angeles expansion. Grupo Hunan is among the most prominent hospitality companies in the region, with nearly two dozen restaurants across CDMX and Cabo San Lucas alone. They operate the city’s multiple Nobu locations, and have been building and running restaurants since their first Chinese food opening in 1994 (hence the Hunan name). The business, still family-run, now encompasses some of the massive city’s most well-regarded dining destinations, and recently the group has even begun to branch out into new cities like Guadalajara.
Now they’ve landed in LA at the Grove, taking over the former 189 by Dominique Ansel space.
While signage has been up for the inbound restaurant there for some time — named Alma for ‘soul’, the connection to the massive Mexico City group has been largely quiet until now (the place has no relation to the former Downtown LA tasting menu spot). Reached by phone recently, Grupo Hunan tell Eater that the forthcoming restaurant, which they call “a once in a lifetime opportunity and location,” represents the group’s first foray into the American market — but judging by their early ambitions it may not be the last.
Alma will operate as a two-floor space, just as it was during Dominique Ansel’s time. That likely means more casual offerings on the first floor (along with the patio seating) and a more complete menu for the upstairs and terrace areas, though details with the Shawmut build team and interior designer Cuaik Arquitectos are still coming together. So far they’re thinking light, breezy, and green, similar to their Hacienda restaurant in Cabo.
As for the menu, reps tell Eater that the plan is to offer “a fresh take on traditional Mexican cuisine,” while pulling heavily from their existing menus in Mexico. That means everything from carnitas and ceviches to tacos, birria, and desserts, with tortillas made in-house. The group’s existing chefs will oversee the kitchen, at least from the outset. Expect lunch through dinner hours with a full bar that includes plenty of imported tequila and mezcal. As for when ownership will be able to realize their “lifelong dream” of opening in Los Angeles? Look for an arrival sometime this summer.