Two prominent LA restaurants — Craft LA in Century City and Kinn in Koreatown — announced impending closures on Friday, November 17. With this latest pair of closings, the city will lose two culinary greats — one long-established and another on the rise.
Craft LA, the 17-year-old upscale American restaurant from Top Chef host Tom Colicchio that debuted in Century City in 2006, will hold its last public service on Thanksgiving Day, Colicchio confirmed on Instagram. (The actual closure date is December 16 to accommodate scheduled holiday parties.)
Acclaimed for its dependably well-executed, seasonally-driven fare served in a sleek dining room designed by Bentel & Bentel, Craft served as a standard bearer in Century City before the adjacent mall evolved into a dining destination in its own right. Former Los Angeles Times restaurant critic S. Irene Virbila praised the restaurant in a September 2010 review. “I’d go back on my own money (rather than the paper’s) in a heartbeat,” she wrote. “We’re seriously short on grown-up big-city restaurants run with passion and professionalism. Craft is one to treasure.” Virbila awarded Craft LA a rare three-and-a-half star rating out of four stars.
Craft also produced incredible kitchen talent during its run. The list of notable alumni includes Matthew Accarrino of Michelin-starred SPQR in San Francisco, Micah Wexler of Wexler’s Deli, Jonathan Whitener of All Day Baby and Here’s Looking At You, Michael Kim of the now-closed Michelin-starred restaurant Maum in the Bay Area, and Shawn Pham of the now-closed Simbal in Little Tokyo. Shannon Swindle, now of Mother Wolf and Funke, was the restaurant’s longtime pastry chef; Brian Rigsby was Craft’s final chef de cuisine, starting as the executive sous chef before being promoted in recent years.
The second significant closure is Koreatown’s Kinn, a modern Korean tasting menu restaurant from talented chef Ki Kim, who announced on Instagram late last week that he was burned out from the rigors of running a restaurant; the final night of service will be November 25. “Recently, operations have been difficult at Kinn and my mental and physical health has been drastically deteriorating as well,” Kim shared on social media. “Though our time in Koreatown was short, we have achieved so much with extremely limited resources. I’m very proud and grateful for the team who made all the achievements possible.” Kim said he hopes to take time to recover and come back stronger, healthier, and more focused, but that reopening a restaurant was not an immediate priority.
Kim opened Kinn in November 2021 in partnership with In Hospitality, the outfit behind Chimmelier and the now-closed Hanchic. Kim previously worked at New York City’s two-Michelin-starred tasting menu restaurants Jungsik and Atomix, representing two of the most ambitious Korean restaurants in the U.S. Kinn was a harbinger of LA’s rise as a modern Korean food destination, preceding Yangban, Baroo, Perilla, and others. The restaurant served five- to seven-course menus nightly for under $100 per person, plus optional wine pairings.
The Los Angeles Times critic Bill Addison lauded Kinn in a review earlier this year: “A year and a half in, as his menus have grown surer in conception and execution, Kim is emerging as one of the freshest culinary voices in Los Angeles.” Through the two years, Kinn evolved into a market-driven, kaiseki-inspired menu; its reasonable price point and casual service made it an ideal entry into thoughtful, upscale Korean food in the heart of Koreatown.