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After 15 Months Away, Smorgasburg LA Plots a Post-Pandemic Return

Plus, the future of two of LA’s oldest restaurant icons hangs in the balance, and good news for fans of the Alamo Drafthouse

An overhead, angled view of an outdoor food festival, with rows of colorful tents.
Smorgasburg LA
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.

Good news, food fans: Smorgasburg LA is back. The long-running outdoor food and goods marketplace at the Row development in Downtown LA has been on hiatus for the entirety of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in LA, but yesterday operators announced a return date for July 4.

The five-year-old weekly festival has been home to many now-prominent pop-ups and restaurants over the years, from Moo’s Craft Barbecue to Tacos 1986. With this imminent return, operators are now looking for new names to join the field, opening up fresh vendor applications for all those who might be interested. Smorgasburg LA will also renew its partnership with GrubHub to do deliveries of key food items from the various vendors. As for the final list of vendors attending this year across the five-acre space, you’ll have to wait until closer to July 4.

In other news:

  • The BLVD restaurant is reopening at the Beverly Wilshire on Friday, June 4, after initially pivoting to a standalone open-air restaurant in their leafy driveway and valet area during the pandemic.
  • In Echo Park, the fate of Taix restaurant continues to cause consternation among locals and public officials. Some say more housing is needed at the site (and that pieces of the place’s decor can be kept for future use, instead of landmarking the whole building); others say the piece of LA history is work keeping, restoring, and otherwise leaving as is. For what it’s worth, the owners would like to build on the land, instead of preserve the building.
  • Meanwhile the Queen Mary likely can’t be saved from sinking without a massive financial investment, and there are few suitors lining up to help.
  • The Khoi Barbecue team out of Houston (a spot that focuses on Viet-Tex meats) and Convenience West out of Marfa are both coming to Heritage Barbecue in San Juan Capistrano on Sunday, June 13. Expect long lines for this first-time collaboration.
  • The Alamo Drafthouse is sticking around, reports Variety. More than that, the boutique movie theater is planning to move ahead with five new openings in the near future.
  • The Hollywood Improv is also looking to grow, says What Now LA, asking for permits that would allow room for a portable stage and outdoor patio.
  • The Fowler Museum is teaming up with Casita Del Campo for a free cocktail class and drag comedy show as part of its month of Pride celebrations. The evening event runs June 16.
  • The hottest pool accessory this summer is a human-sized french fry boat from In-N-Out, says the Pasadena Star News. Check out the limited product below, and try to cop before they’re gone.
Two people float on blow up versions of french fry boats in a pool.
In-N-Out floaties