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Little Tokyo’s 111-Year-Old Mochi Ice Cream Shop Mikawaya Closes Permanently

Plus, a vegan sandwich roundup, Black Pride in LA, and news for Burritos La Palma

Mochi from Mikawaya in Little Tokyo Mikawaya [Official photo]
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

One of Little Tokyo’s oldest businesses has closed suddenly after a remarkable 111-year legacy. Mikawaya began as a Japanese confections store in 1910 from Koroku and Haru Hashimoto that eventually became famous for its mochi ice cream, a product that continues to sit in grocery store freezer aisles. Frances Hashimoto became CEO of the company in 1970 at the age of 27 and ran the company until 2012. Yesterday, social media users saw a paper sign that stated the last day of business for the First Street shop, which has been a storefront for Mikawaya since 1945, and would be closing on June 30. The sudden closure of Mikawaya, which will continue to sell its mochi ice cream as its original label, as well as through a rebranded product called My Mochi, in retail stores, resembles that of Curry House, where ownership decided to quietly end operations instead of making a wider announcement of an impending closure.

In other news:

  • Los Angeles Magazine published a roundup of LA’s best vegan sandwiches, including plant-based options like the Milanese at Crossroads Kitchen and the Lakshmi Singh at Wax Paper.
  • Thinking about heading to Catalina this weekend? The Los Angeles Times has ideas on where to eat, drink or sleep while on the island.
  • Disney+ has a new documentary about acclaimed LA chef Wolfgang Puck. Wolfgang is by David Gelb, who also directed “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.”
  • Black Pride 2021 begins today in Los Angeles. There are events throughout the weekend, including panel discussions at the Redline in DTLA, a hip-hop party at Rocco’s, and Saturday’s main event at Los Angeles’s longstanding Catch One club. The full details are on Eventbrite.
  • LA’s longstanding restaurants and chefs are featured throughout this piece by the Counter that looks deeply at “Reimagining the American restaurant.”
  • Burritos La Palma announces a new tortilla company called Mejorado. It’s a partnership with Corazon Y Miel/Chica’s Tacos’ chef Eduardo Ruiz and Steve Pineda and sold at stores and restaurants. They’ve even got vegan and organic options available to produce the same quality tortillas for everyone to enjoy from their favorite stores and restaurants.
  • Venice’s The Rose is usually closed on Mondays, but will be open for brunch on Monday, July 5.


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