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Cult-Favorite Jollibee Inches Closer to Its Downtown LA Opening [UPDATE]

Plus, LA Times reviews Ponchos Tlayudas, and a famous fight at a legendary LA restaurant

Filipino multinational chain of fast food Jollibee...
Signage for Jollibee.
Photo by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Beloved Filipino fast food chain Jollibee will open its newest location at 729 Seventh Street in Downtown LA this summer. Jollibee’s Downtown branch sits just across the street from the Bloc at Seventh and Flower, a prime location that is near transit lines and a busy retail corridor. The centrally placed hub is part of a rapid expansion wave designed to help Angelenos get to know the brand better, ideally by consuming more fried chicken, peach mango pie, and Filipino spaghetti.

In 2019, the Filipino chain shared plans to place U.S. headquarters in West Covina while tripling the number of outlets within four years. It also added the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to its portfolio in 2019 with a $350 million purchase price. Jollibee currently operates in Eagle Rock, Panorama City, Alhambra, and East Hollywood.

LA Times love for a Ponchos Tlayudas dish

In this week’s review, Los Angeles Times critic Bill Addison called out the tlayuda con tres carnes from Ponchos Tlayudas, naming it “one of L.A.’s defining dishes.”

Praise for Kato

Kato’s Jon Yao received a hearty write-up in Resy for his new Row DTLA restaurant, and his plans to push for multiple Michelin stars. It’s clear that “Taiwanese American fine dining has arrived,” Resy says.

Indian “sizzlers” and the steak restaurant chain

In a truly California story, KQED’s Adhiti Bandlamudi wrote about the origin story of the Mumbai staple sizzlers (heated metal plates filled with various foods that “sizzle” when walked past a table), and its connection to California-based chain, Sizzler.

Frank Sinatra and Godfather author Mario Puzo fight at a famous LA restaurant

Hollywood gossip can be tedious — that is, unless it’s a decades-old incident between two icons in an LA restaurant that closed in 1995. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Frank Sinatra and The Godfather author Mario Puzo got into an altercation in 1972 at Chasen’s where the two men were pulled off one another. The offense? Sinatra hated the depiction of Italians in Puzo’s bestseller and the subsequent hit movies. And for his comments, Puzo allegedly tried to stab Sinatra with a fork.

The LA Uprising and restaurants

Last week, Los Angeles marked 30 years since LAPD officers were acquitted for beating Rodney King, which was followed by six days of civil unrest. The Los Angeles Times wrote two stories that followed the perspective of restaurants, one about the USC-adjacent La Flor Blanca and the El Salvadoran community. The other centers around LA’s Korean community.

Update: May 3, 2022, 12:38 p.m.: This story mistakenly indicated that Jollibee’s Downtown LA location was open as of May 2. The location is targeting a summer opening date.