In a blow to Downtown LA’s lineup of compelling places to eat, Sari Sari Store at Grand Central Market closed permanently on Monday, December 11, with the Filipino counter-only restaurant announcing its closure on Instagram late yesterday. First opened in 2017, when it took over the former Bar Moruno stall, the comfort food meat-and-rice eatery from James Beard award-winning chef Margarita Manzke was one of the best places in Los Angeles for modern Filipino food.
The restaurant made the following announcement:
Since opening in the iconic Grand Central Market in 2017, we’ve cherished every moment of serving our Los Angeles community. It is with heavy hearts that we share that we are closing our doors today, December 11, 2023. We are deeply grateful for nearly 7 years of joy and friendship.
Occupying a prime space at Downtown’s busiest and most historic food hall, Sari Sari Store garnered fans for its terrific renditions of traditional Filipino fare, including lechon kawali, grilled pork ribs, sisig, and lechon manok over garlic rice. Named after a Filipino-style convenience or variety store, the shelves above the counter are decorated with colorful knick-knacks, packaged foods, and hand-painted signage.
The late Los Angeles Times critic Jonathan Gold was a big fan of the restaurant in its early days, writing, “My colleagues and I have probably adored Sari Sari Store a little too much lately, partly because we’re as likely to become crushed out on a new restaurant as a 14-year-old is on the latest Zayn track.” Gold praised the smart takes on beloved Filipino dishes: “It may be an odd thing to say about a restaurant, but at Sari Sari Store it really doesn’t matter what you order. If you get adobo fried rice, you will find a bit of sweetness from the pork belly’s marinade; the sisig, fried pig’s head, is crunchier and more assertively salty; and the grilled eggplant is smokier, richer, more tart.”
Operated by Margarita and her husband Walter Manzke, Sari Sari Store was the only Filipino restaurant in the U.S. from the prolific restaurateurs, who operate dozens of restaurants in the Philippines through a partnership with Margarita’s sister Ana. That group, including Wildflour, Pink’s, and Wildflour Italian, often weave in Filipino flavors alongside typical American food. The Manzkes also own Republique, Bicyclette, and Manzke in Los Angeles, though their modern Mexican spot Petty Cash Taqueria closed this year after a 10-year run.
Eater will update this story as more information becomes available.