One of Los Angeles’s best burger-makers is on the move, adding a fourth location in the heart of Downtown at the historic Grand Central Market. For the Win, a pandemic pivot that started in Hollywood at strip mall bistro Papilles and has gone on to become one of the city’s most talked-about smashburger spots, is taking up residence in a familiar stall at the 105-year-old open-sided market very soon.
“As a born and bred Angeleno, burgers are part of my DNA. From Pie N’ Burger, Tommy’s, In-n-Out and my old favorite, Capitol Burgers, I’ve enjoyed them all immensely over the years,” says owner Santos Uy in a statement to Eater. “Since moving Downtown nearly 20 years ago I’ve been a frequent patron of Grand Central Market. Opening up For The Win here feels like a homecoming to me.”
For the Win’s lacy-edged, extra-saucy burgers should open in the former Kismet Falafel space near DTLA Cheese by January or February 2023. Uy also operates Mignon wine bar in Downtown’s Historic Core — where Cento Pasta Bar first popped up before becoming its own restaurant in West Adams — and runs additional For the Win locations in Glendale and Whittier. The restaurant was on last year’s Los Angeles Times 101 best restaurants list and has earned praise from Times critic Bill Addison.
While For the Win won’t have much direct burger competition inside Grand Central Market proper, the city overall is filled with smashburgers of all styles lately, from the heavily-griddled options at Heavy Handed in Santa Monica to the ultra-thin and crispy version found at Burger She Wrote in Beverly Grove. The arrival of For the Win does make it unlikely that another similar burger operator will now take over the still-closed former Belcampo space, which has been shuttered since the company faced allegations of knowingly mislabeling its products and selling them to customers at high mark-ups back in 2021.