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Cambodian Restaurant Gamboge Closes This Weekend in Lincoln Heights

Plus, the South Bay loses a longtime restaurant pro, and a new nightlife spot comes to Hollywood

Num pang sandwich at Gamboge on a plate.
Num pang sandwich at Gamboge.
Wonho Frank Lee
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Cambodian restaurant Gamboge, which opened in the height of the pandemic in August 2020 from Hak Lonh and Jane Oh, announced yesterday on Instagram that they would be closing this Saturday, February 19. “The journey of building a restaurant and serving you all has been enriching as well as a challenging one, but every moment was worth it. We are thankful that we got to share Khmer food with the masses and hopefully Khmer food will continue to get its deserved attention,” wrote Lonh and Oh. Gamboge was one of the first new Cambodian restaurants to open in Los Angeles outside of the sizeable community in and around Long Beach, serving num pang sandwiches and other reasonably priced food. The owners didn’t give a further reason for the closure, but did mention that the next chapter of Gamboge will be “different but in the same spirit,” hinting at a come back in the future.

From Miami to LA

The former Beso space, which was owned in part by Eva Longoria, is becoming a new supper club called MainRo from Romain Zago of Mynt Miami, a celebrity-riddled nightlife venue in the South Florida city. MainRo will have a full dinner menu and cocktails, with plans to open on February 24, though it’s already taking reservations and had sneak preview openings last weekend. The space features dramatic lighting and Egyptian themes.

Feature for Crenshaw’s Soul food queen Marilyn

Graduate student Ashton Edmunds at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism writes a nice profile of Chef Marilyn A. Cole in Crenshaw District, who has operated her namesake restaurant for over 30 years. “I feed the homeless, I feed the seniors. I was a part of the senior program where I would feed the seniors across the street when the pandemic first hit. Soul food is a big part of life,” says Cole.

Eating like a local in Chinatown

KCET has a handy guide to eating like a local in Chinatown, featuring places like Jade Wok with its house special tofu to Queen’s Bakery, which does puff cakes and pineapple buns. The piece also features Lanza Brothers Market, a Korean-owned Italian-style deli that’s technically located in Lincoln Heights just a mile away from Chinatown. The list a great way to look at some lesser-known spots in greater Chinatown.

Gentrification in Leimert Park

The LA Times has an interesting look at the gentrification taking place in South LA neighborhood Leimert Park, which affects Black-owned businesses like Hot and Cool Cafe. The community seems to be galvanizing to maintain ownership of the area and keeping wealth local instead of seeing it get siphoned off.

A longtime LA restaurant pro has passed away

Michael Morrisette, who was the managing partner at Manhattan Beach’s Strand House for nine years, died this week. The longtime restaurant professional was previously the opening manager at Melisse in Santa Monica, as well as La Cachette, Cafe del Rey, and Maple Drive. Manhattan Beach News says he died after a six month battle with COVID-19.


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