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Cinnamon rolls from the Gooey Center pop-up in Los Angeles, California.
Cinnamon rolls from Gooey Center.
Gooey Center

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The Hottest Pop-Ups in Los Angeles Right Now

Vegan cinnamon rolls, soul food gyros, and more

It’s hard to think of a time when pop-ups weren’t a part of Los Angeles’s dining fabric. Aside from offering some of the most creative meals in town, these ephemeral events can sometimes provide a preview of up-and-coming brick-and-mortar restaurants. Over the past decade, these makeshift businesses have grown in popularity to become an integral part of how Angelenos eat and drink today. This is a periodic compilation of notable one-off and ongoing pop-ups.

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February 2, 2023

Gooey Center at Altadena Beverage and Market — Gooey Center owner Christopher Federici is relatively new to the pop-up game. The former schoolteacher left his education career six years ago, and with minimal kitchen experience started selling plant-based cinnamon rolls last May, even though he isn’t vegan. The rolls range between $8 and $10 depending on the variation from the Biscoff roll drizzled in cookie vegan butter, or the Funfetti roll sans cinnamon with a cake batter frosting. The latter will be on display this Saturday at Altadena Beverage and Market from 10 a.m. until noon. On Sunday, check Gooey’s Instagram to see which flavors Federici is preparing for the Vegan Exchange from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. 850 Allen Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91104.

Soul Food Gyro at Brain Dead Studios — Coming in hot is a LA’s latest transplant pop-up: Soul Food Gyro. Originally from New York, the Alleyne brothers relocated the Southland pop-up, and this weekend’s menu includes gyros with jerk chicken, jerk salmon, oxtail, one with chickpea curry, and sweet potato hummus served on cornbread pita. Get to Brain Dead Studios between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday. 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

Pat & George at Melody Wine Bar — Though Patrick Thompson and George Gray function as private chefs and caterers, they also pop up throughout LA. The duo previously had a run at Melody Wine Bar and will return every weekend in February. Handmade pasta is typically on the menu but check back as the options change regularly. Diners might find such dishes as bruschetta, pasta, or dessert. On Saturday, the pop-up runs from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. 751 Virgil Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029.

Avi Cue at Boneyard Bistro — There’s time to plan for Tuesday’s pop-up partnership between Avi Cue’s and the Boneyard Bistro crew for a Middle Eastern/Tex-Mex dinner. There are two seatings, one at 5:30 p.m. and the second at 8 p.m., where meat master Avi Cue will make arayes, which are meat-stuffed pitas for $30 per person. Add-ons are also available. Book a seat on Resy. 13539 Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423.

Yellow Paper Burger at Lamero Studios — Owners Katie Burnett and Colin Fahrner’s roving burger pop-up started as home burger nights, then onto a pandemic backyard burger joint, but now moves throughout LA. And true to its name, the burgers — made with butter-toasted buns, mayo, patties with American cheese, chopped chilis, lettuce, tomato, raw onion, and dill pickles — are wrapped in yellow paper. Yellow Paper Burger will set up at Lamero Studio in West Adams from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. this Friday. 3210 Glendale Boulevard, Atwater Village, CA, 90039.

Ongoing events

Blockbuster Pop-Up Bar — Produced by the same crew that invented the popular Golden Girls Kitchen, the 90210-themed Peach Pit, and Saved by the Max pop-ups, the Blockbuster Pop-Up Bar is more of a speakeasy. Tickets start at $29 per person, which includes a full bar with throwback product names most haven’t seen in years: Crystal Clear Pepsi, Tab, plus cocktails made with Gushers and Yoo-Hoo. There’s even Zima, a carbonated bottled clear liquor drink from 1993. This runs throughout February and tickets are still available. 7174 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90046.

Soseji Rice Dog at Mermaid — Chef Steve Cho’s Soseji Rice Dog continues its pop-up at the Mermaid Downtown. It runs from 6 p.m. until midnight from Tuesday through Saturday where Cho’s dishes range from arancini curry balls to bulgogi or gochujang birria tacos, and even a roasted kimchi and spam rice ball. Then there’s his signature soseji, a combination of Taiwanese rice sausage and Korean blood sausage. 428 E. 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

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