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Milkshakes, fried cheese curds, and a vanilla milkshake with potato chips at Rita’s Deluxe restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Milkshakes, fried cheese curds, and a vanilla milkshake with potato chips.

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A Fine Dining Chef’s Passion for Fast Food Fuels Downtown LA’s Newest Burger Spot

Find old-school vibes, fried cheese curds, and drippy burgers in the former Petit Peso space

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.

Rita’s Deluxe from chef Luke Reyes, which opens Tuesday, November 14 is the third diner to grace Downtown since August along with Moonlark’s Dinette and Denae’s. Named after Reyes’s grandmother, the restaurant is a cozy transformation of the Petite Peso and Rice Bar space complete with counter seats, milkshakes, a soda fountain, and burgers. Designer Abby Kuskin reimagined the snug 10-by-10-foot room that overlooks Seventh Street between Hill and Olive Streets.

Most know Reyes from his American bistro menu at the former Butchers & Barbers and now-closed 9th Street Ramen. But Reyes got his start cooking professionally at the age of 15 at McDonald’s where he learned about short-order preparation and the differences between Quarter Pounders and Big Macs. “An actual love of fast food is what fuels this,” says Reyes. “I’m taking my fine dining past and putting it into a burger. Hopefully, you can get a taste without the pretense.”

Reyes tells Eater that the birth of his daughter further inspired him to slow down and cease constant travel to Canada as the chef and co-managing partner at Gitanes Restaurant Group in Ottowa, his most recent gig before opening Rita’s Deluxe.

Chef Luke Reyes in a window at his Downtown Los Angeles restaurant, Rita’s Deluxe.
Chef Luke Reyes.

Reyes, along with friend and business partner Collier Ulrich, conducted an East Coast and Midwest diner tour before settling on Rita’s unfussy menu. The burger can be made with single, double, or triple patties and two types of American cheddar. Meatless patties come from Impossible, while the grass-fed beef is a combination of brisket and chuck that’s specifically ground for Rita’s by Strauss. Reyes created a tangy sauce for the burger that’s stacked with white onion and lettuce; potential upgrades include adding bacon, chopped cherry peppers, and caramelized onions.

The fried chicken sandwich is pounded flat, brined in buttermilk and pickle juice for 24 hours, coated in panko breadcrumbs, deep-fried, and layered with chile crisp mayo, tomato, pickles, and American cheese.

Side dishes include crinkle-cut fries prepared in beef tallow and served with or without cheese and onions, along with fried cheese curds as a nod to Reyes’s Midwest appreciation. Milkshakes are made with Clover Organic dairy and McConnell’s Ice Cream, including strawberry and vanilla flavors topped with potato chips. In the months ahead, Reyes will feature special milkshakes and grill items.

Rita’s Deluxe is located at 419 W. Seventh Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90014, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Two hands hold a burger at Rita’s Deluxe restaurant in Los Angeles.
Rita’s burger.
Two servings of crinkle cut fries on a tray at Rita’s Deluxe restaurant in Los Angeles.
Crinkle fries and deluxe-style.
A fried chicken sandwich with American cheese and lettuce at Rita’s Deluxe restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Fried chicken sandwich.
Fried cheese curds with dipping sauce at Rita’s Deluxe restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Fried cheese curds.
A pile of burgers stacked on top of each other at Rita’s Deluxe restaurant in Los Angeles.
A stack of burgers.
Counter seating and food preparation area at Rita’s Deluxe restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Seating and prep area.
Counter seating with stools at Rita’s Deluxe in Downtown Los Angeles.
Counter seating.
A view that overlooks Seventh Street in Downtown Los Angeles at Rita’s Deluxe restaurant.
The Seventh Street view.
Hats and shirt merchandise at Rita’s Deluxe restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
The exterior of Rita’s Deluxe restaurant in Downtown Los Angeles.
Exterior of Rita’s Deluxe.

Rita's Deluxe

419 W 7th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90014 Visit Website
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