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A Hot Shot Chicago Chef Is Opening a Classic Diner in Downtown Los Angeles

Moonlark’s Dinette will serve traditional diner fare with a hearty helping of nostalgia

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Bar area of Cafe Basque in Downtown LA.
Café Basque at the Hoxton hotel Downtown.
Wonho Frank Lee
Cathy Chaplin is a senior editor at Eater LA, a James Beard Award–nominated journalist, and the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles.

Café Basque at the Hoxton in Downtown has been operating on autopilot, serving mostly hotel guests following chef Daniel Rose’s departure in May. But come November, Boka Restaurant Group will convert the ground-floor space into an all-day restaurant called Moonlark’s Dinette with superstar Chicago chef Chris Pandel at the helm.

Chef Chris Pandel.
Chef Chris Pandel.
Boka Restaurant Group

Pandel, who has worked with Boka for over a decade, linked up with the restaurant group following the success of his first restaurant, the Bristol, which opened in 2008. Together with Boka, Pandel opened a slew of restaurants including Italian spot Balena in 2012, steakhouse Swift & Sons and seafood restaurant Cold Storage in 2015, and Cira at the Hoxton in Chicago in 2019. Most recently, Pandel was appointed executive chef of Le Select when Boka parted ways with Rose. The Chicago-based restaurant group also owns and operates Cabra on the rooftop at the Hoxton in Downtown and Girl & The Goat in the Arts District with chef Stephanie Izard.

Moonlark’s Dinette is Pandel’s first restaurant outside of Chicago. The menu promises classic diner fare served from breakfast through late-night. Diners can anticipate plenty of egg preparations, sandwiches, salads, house-made pastries, shareable mains, and memorable desserts, a representative tells Eater. Moonlark’s Dinette joins another modern diner tucked inside a hotel, Denae’s, which opened in August at the Delphi on S. Flower Street.

Prior to Rose opening Café Basque in December 2022, the ground floor restaurant was home to Brooklyn-founded Sibling Rival. The casual all-day restaurant served a diner menu chock-full of sandwiches, salads, pies, and pancakes and was generally well received by diners prior to its pandemic-related closure.

Café Basque

1060 South Broadway, , CA 90015 (213) 725-5900 Visit Website