The LA Cha Cha Chá team out of the Arts District has scored some new real estate in the Frogtown neighborhood (known formally as Elysian Valley) between Silver Lake, Atwater Village, and Glassell Park, with plans to drop in a seafood restaurant right along the Los Angeles River. It’s a big jump for the proprietors of one of the city’s most popular rooftop restaurants, and could have even bigger implications for Frogtown, which has seen significant change in recent years.
The incoming restaurant, dubbed Za Za Za, is the work of Cha Cha Chá’s Alejandro Marin, Jorge Salim, and Javier Hernandez Pons. The trio is branching out to 1993 Blake Avenue, just a block or so from Wax Paper and La Colombe, in the heart of a neighborhood that has become part of the Los Angeles gentrification conversation in recent years. The incoming restaurant will add a lot of energy to that corner of the community, pulling in rich marble and deep jewel tone accents under a bow truss ceiling with room for 130 total diners at a time. The curving bar alone can seat 20, while more than half of the remaining space will be offered as outdoor seating, just a block from the river. The attached renderings offer a peek inside.
As with the group’s first Los Angeles restaurant (the team has opened a variety of spaces across Mexico City), expect Za Za Za to offer a strong Mexican culinary perspective, albeit one buoyed by California flavors and Angeleno sensibilities. Za Za Za will serve as a marisceria, a spot for seafood and the smoky flavors that often accompany a charcoal-grilled meal along the Baja Peninsula. There will be big, spicy raw seafood preparations from the Sinaloa area along the Sea of Cortés, as well as meats and vegetables that reach across western Mexico and into California. Paco Moran, currently the executive chef of LA Cha Cha Chá, will run the kitchen of Za Za Za.
Expect an opening for Za Za Za by September of this year. Meanwhile, LA Cha Cha Chá and its attached drinking spot La Barra continue to serve as a hub for the Arts District. Located on 3rd Street, the restaurants abut a variety of other popular dining options from Death & Co. and Wurstkuche to the always busy Salt & Straw and nearby Camphor and Manuela.