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Downtown LA’s Newest Restaurant Signals a Trend Toward Nostalgic Diners

Plus, a new restaurant from the Cha Cha Chá team, Sticky Rice in Beverly Grove, and more

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The exterior of Petite Peso, the small Downtown LA restaurant.
The former exterior of Petite Peso in Downtown LA.
Wonho Frank Lee
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Veteran chef Luke Reyes, who most recently cooked at 9th Street Ramen, is opening a diner inside the former Petite Peso and Rice Bar space called Rita’s Deluxe. Reyes and partner Collier Ulrich plan to serve a small menu: burgers made with beef or Impossible patties, fried chicken sandwiches, and a daily special. Sides include fried cheese curds and beef tallow french fries, plus sodas and milkshakes.

Rita’s Deluxe, which is named after Reyes’ grandmother and their formative diner experiences in Massachusetts and Maine, is scheduled to open in mid-November. Rita’s Deluxe joins the emerging new-school diner trend which includes soon-to-open Moonlark’s Dinette at the Hoxton hotel and the recently debuted Denae’s at the Delphi hotel. Rita’s Deluxe is located at 419 W. Seventh Street, Downtown Los Angeles.

Action atop the Aster

Marcel Vigneron’s rooftop restaurant Lemon Grove has been thriving in the hip open-air space for the past year, releasing a new fall menu on October 12 that includes everything bagel Parker House rolls, miso black cod grilled over binchotan coals, and apple fritters with apple cider glaze that recalls Vigneron’s childhood.

The return of Downtown LA’s South Park neighborhood

Coming out of a pandemic downturn, South Park in Downtown LA seems to be coming back strong with projects like Level 8 at the AC Hotel/Moxy Hotel and the announcement of a huge new expansion for 33 Taps. The Silver Lake sports bar signed a 10-year lease at 1240 S. Figueroa Street next to Arena which adds a strong option for the neighborhood’s sports fans.

More modern Mexican in Orange County

Two partners from LA Cha Cha Chá and Loreto, Jorge Salim and Javier Hernandez Pons, are opening a restaurant in Costa Mesa called Maizano that leans on modern Mexican dishes and heirloom corn. Maizano fills a void of modern Mexican food in Orange County recently vacated by the temporary closure of Michelin-starred restaurant Taco María. Expect an opening at 2300 Harbor Boulevard sometime in mid-November. Follow the restaurant on Instagram for updates.

Rendering of Maizano in Costa Mesa.
Rendering of Maizano in Costa Mesa.
Shook Kelley

Sticky Rice rides into Beverly Grove

Thai street food-inspired restaurant Sticky Rice opened a new location on October 17 at 8044 West Third Street with a Bangkok noodle bar ambiance. There are 14 bar seats and eight tables in the small space, serving favorites like gai yang, pad thai, curries, and more with natural wine and craft beer to drink.

So many chains, so little time

Actor/writer B.J. Novak’s ongoing partnership with chef Timothy Hollingsworth in producing semi-regular chain restaurant pop-ups is becoming a full-on food festival called Chainfest. Feeding off nostalgia, the event takes place from December 1 to 3 in Hollywood serving updated dishes inspired by Sonic, Pizza Hut, Red Robin, Jack in the Box, Panda Express, Chili’s, and Dunkin’. Unfortunately, it looks like tickets are sold out for the first two days, though $75 tickets are still for sale on December 3.