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After 65 Years, a Santa Monica Burger Icon Closes Next Week

Plus, a Bridgetown Roti cameo on Waffles + Mochi, street tacos-inspired baseball caps, and more

Cheeseburger and fries at Big Jo’s in Santa Monica.
Cheeseburger and fries at Big Jo’s in Santa Monica.
Big Jo’s

Ever since the owners of Big Jo’s announced on Instagram a week ago that they’d be permanently closing due to leasing and rent-hike issues, there have been long lines out the door of the 65-year-old burger restaurant. They’ve been selling out every day, says co-owner Joy Lee.

Korean American sisters Joy and Hana Lee bought Big Jo’s from their aunt in 2016 to keep the restaurant in the family. Their aunt had been running the fast-casual spot — which serves burgers, hoagies, and crinkle-cut fries — for nearly 20 years before she retired. (The ownership of Big Jo’s switched hands a few times over its long existence.) It’s the kind of homey place where the cooks have been employed for a decade and cashiers have memorized longtime customers’ orders.

Big Jo’s will close on October 17. The Lees want to reopen the restaurant in a new location but are finding it difficult to build the capital to start over. They are also considering opening outside of Santa Monica. If anything, their customer support has renewed a lease on their hopes. “We’re just overwhelmed, and it’s so heartwarming to see so much love and support,” says Joy. “That’s what made us change our minds to continue it at all. It’s a legacy in Santa Monica.”

Modern Times to close Leisuretown

Popular San Diego craft brewery Modern Times will close its Anaheim outpost Leisuretown on October 15. The massive 33,000-square-foot brewery, restaurant, and swim club opened months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. In its final week, expect major discounts on beers. Modern Times will continue to operate its tasting rooms throughout San Diego.

Sports apparel chain drops street tacos-themed baseball caps

Pro Image Sports recently debuted its collection of street tacos-themed baseball caps that pay homage to local favorites. The four hats were designed using inspiration from Ricos Tacos Naomi, Carnitas El Artista, and El Comal de Mexico. The tan brims are the color of tortillas and the colors of the crowns subtly represent the proteins, with shoutouts to carnitas, al pastor, the Dodgers, and Angels. They’re available at the shop’s 11 locations throughout the Southland.

Trap Kitchen heads to Vegas

The owners of soul food outfit Trap Kitchen have been through it all — from their humble beginnings operating as an underground Compton pop-up to running a fleet of food trucks and publishing cookbooks. Now, they’ll be heading to Las Vegas for a four-week residency at MGM’s Mandalay Bay and Luxor from January 29, 2023 to February 25, 2023. It’s part of a Pepsi-sponsored initiative that brings Black restaurateurs and chefs to major culinary cities.

Toca Madera West Hollywood debuts new fall seasonal menu

As part of Toca Madera West Hollywood’s Mezcal Mondays tradition, which utilizes the smoky spirit as a launchpad for creative cocktails and tapas, the Mexican steakhouse debuted a new fall menu this month. Think cocktails with spiced cranberry syrup and pumpkin flavors, and dishes like albóndigas with wagyu and burrata. The special fall menu is only available on Mondays.

Bridgetown Roti makes cameo on Waffles + Mochi

Michelle Obama’s popular Waffles + Mochi Netflix series is gearing up for a season 2 release on October 17, with LA’s Bridgetown Roti’s chef-owner Rashida Holmes making a cameo. Holmes will be chatting about one of her favorite dishes on the food-centric children’s puppet show. Other guest stars include Padma Lakshmi, Samin Nosrat, and Big Freedia.

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