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These Are the Most Community-Focused Restaurants of 2022

From feeding healthcare workers to supporting small businesses, these restaurants and organizations gave back to their neighborhoods in a big way

A masked mother and son who own a Korean restaurant stand arm in arm.
Jung Ye Jun and Jeff Jun of Jun Won Dak restaurant.
Jonathan Chu

Welcome to the Year in Eater 2022 an annual tradition that looks back at the highs, lows, and in-betweens of Los Angeles’s restaurant scene. Today, LA’s finest food writers, editors, reporters, and a few select others with strong opinions share the restaurants that stepped up in small and big ways for their community over the past year.

Farley Elliott, Senior Editor, Eater LA

It’s been wonderful to see the growth of Alta Adams in West Adams. Keith Corbin’s place has become such a hub for Angelenos in the neighborhood and beyond, an increasing rarity in largely CIM-owned West Adams these days.

Kristie Hang, Freelance Writer, Eater LA

I feel like Steep LA and Rice Box do a lot for the local Asian community by supporting local artisans.

Sharon Lee, Content Creator, @helloimsharon (TikTok)

Open Market — they create a gathering ground for Koreatown folks with their food, products, and services.

Matthew Kang, Lead Editor, Eater LA

Places like B-Sweet and the Park’s Finest continue to support the healthcare community and their local areas in unsung ways. Restaurants should be deeply enmeshed with their communities, and the ways they do this, from streetside music concerts to quietly donating extra food, are commendable.

Johneric Concordia checking the meats inside the smoker at the Park’s Finest.
Johneric Concordia working at the Park’s Finest.
Wonho Frank Lee

Dave Holmes, Editor-at-Large, Esquire

By having a really welcoming and cozy bar where you can bump into your neighbors, Mirabelle has been instrumental in making Valley Village feel like a real place, like the walkable town it could someday be. It’s our little version of Larchmont.

Cathy Chaplin, Senior Reporter/Editor, Eater LA

2nd Chance Soul Food Fish Fry opened for business earlier this year in Inglewood. The fast-casual restaurant founded by three native Angelenos is dedicated to assisting formerly incarcerated individuals to transition successfully back into society.

Alison Herman, Staff Writer, The Ringer

Macheen at Milpa Grille’s community fridge is an excellent model for reducing waste and giving back at the same time.

Bill Esparza, Contributor, Eater LA

I love all the work that chef Keith Corbin has done to make Alta Adams a West Adams destination that serves and reflects the local community.

Hadley Tomicki, Deputy Editor, L.A. TACO

There are so many restaurants that do, but one name that leaps out at me is N/Naka’s chef and owner, Niki Nakayama, who I’ve seen step up to help others for years, and was one of many people in our food community to contribute as my wife raised funds for a friend bringing supplies into Ukraine earlier this year.

Josh Lurie, Founder, FoodGPS.com

I appreciate all the efforts that RE: Her is making to support, empower and create opportunities for women in the restaurant world. It’s an inspiring group of industry professionals that now extends to Washington, D.C.

Andy Wang, Contributor, Robb Report and Food & Wine

Samuel Wang and Lydia Lin’s Steep, a modern tea house, which also works nicely as a chill restaurant and lounge (with tea-infused cocktails, of course), is tirelessly committed to amplifying its Chinatown neighborhood and also the AAPI community throughout LA. Steep spearheaded the creation of a Chinatown guide that celebrates both old-school spots and new businesses run by third-culture kids, with profits from the guide donated to the East Wind Foundation for Youth. Steep organized an AAPI Heritage Month fundraiser and also a holiday market, bringing in special guests like Hanchic, Domi, 626 Hospitality Group and Ganchic. Wang and Lin are always looking to expand their community with collaboration dinners and other events.

A glass wall showing the exterior of Steep, with people sitting inside on couches.
Evening service at Steep in Chinatown.
Wonho Frank Lee

Alissa Walker, Senior Writer, Curbed

I live in Historic Filipinotown and I am always in awe of how Johneric Concordia (of the Park’s Finest) takes care of the neighborhood. He’s like the mayor. Thunderbolt has become one of the best bars in the city, but people might not know that when his adjacent restaurant the Park’s Finest was closed to the public for 1.5 years, he was actually cooking free meals for healthcare workers the entire time. Finally they re-opened... then closed again... then re-opened for good — only to get walloped by a three (four?) day blackout during the September heatwave. The community returned the love and raised like $20,000 for Johneric and his crew, of course.

Mona Holmes, Reporter, Eater LA

Dina Samson could rest on her laurels as a prominent restaurant owner and spouse of chef Steve Samson. But she continues to lead as the co-founder and co-executive director for RE:Her, the organization that advances and mentors women restaurant owners in LA.

Lesley Suter, Special Projects Editor, Eater

Bub & Grandma’s reliably donates a zillion loaves of their incredible bread to various nonprofits and other fundraising efforts. They must have donated 60 loaves for my kid’s local elementary school bake sale, and I’m pretty sure they do that week in and week out for various community efforts. (Shout out to Friends & Family who also donate pastries and pies to so many great causes!)

Meghan McCarron, Special Correspondent, Eater

This isn’t a restaurant, but I’m really fascinated by MAMA’s evolving mission of supporting local, immigrant-run restaurants.

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