It seems impossible that someone would capitalize on the term “Karen” — a pejorative term reserved for white women considered overly demanding or mean — but it’s a new year of dining in Los Angeles. Karen’s Diner opens in Marchin March at Hollywood’s Sumac Mediterranean Cuisine and organizers encourage diners to “unleash your inner Karen.”
The appeal of “great burgers and rude service” is a bit puzzling, as Karen’s Diner is designed to draw and encourage entitled customers along with staff who will also bring a bad attitude. Karen’s Diner is a roving pop-up with roots in Australia and more recently in St. Louis. Event organizers are selling tickets for $40 which comes with a burger, fries, and soda with a side of the “Karen” experience plus games and snippy waitstaff.
These novelty pop-ups keep coming, with Karen’s Diner being the most recent to meet the demand. A Blockbuster pop-up opened in November on Melrose, and the incredibly popular Golden Girls Kitchen sold out within a few hours in 2022. Karen’s Diner dates are March 3 and 4, but a spokesperson says there’s a possibility of an extension if popular enough. Booking information is here.
Lunar New Year at Kato
Kato is hosting its second annual Lunar New Year collaboration dinner from January 24 to January 28. Chef Jon Yao invited chefs Tam Debhakam of Bangkok’s Baan Tepa and Brooklyn’s Calvin Eng of Bonnie’s to prepare a nine-course tasting menu with each chef plating three courses. Tickets are available via Resy.
Progress at the new Helm’s Bakery
Chef Sang Yoon’s redesign of Helm’s Bakery is underway. It’s been a long time coming but take a glance at Helm’s Instagram to see construction in progress.
Sustainable chocolate at Providence
The Los Angeles Times dug under the many layers at Michelin-rated Providence to uncover pastry chef Mac Daniel Dimla’s approach to environmentally friendly chocolate.
A new cafe fostering goodwill
The Grove’s new La La Land Kind Cafe opens on Saturday. The founders hire and mentor young people who have aged out of the foster care system.
Celebrated vegan chef restaurant taking over Avant Garden Bistro
Though Avant Garden Bistro closed last month and will likely move to a different location this year, a new vegan African restaurant by chef Shenarri Freeman is taking over the space called Ubuntu this spring. Freeman is behind noted East Village vegan soul restaurant Cadence. Both Avant Garden and Ubuntu are from the NY-based Overthrow Hospitality Group.