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A selection of dishes from Luka from chef Mike Judilla at Bakers and Baristas.
A selection of dishes from chef Mike Judilla at Luka in Artesia.

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This Busy LA Coffee Shop Flips Into a Vibey Wine Bar on the Weekends

Bakers & Baristas in Artesia transforms into an ambitious wine bar called Luka after dark

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.

Opened by brothers Eric and Joseph Quan in 2015 on the border of Artesia and Cerritos, Bakers & Baristas is best known for its flavored lattes and laminated pastries, including classic croissants and buckwheat kouign amann. Now, the popular daytime spot is launching an all-new dinner service called Luka starting today, December 15. Named after co-owner and head baker Eric’s newborn son, the weekends-only affair serves small and large plates paired with globally sourced, natural-leaning wines. “Our goal is to create a neighborhood wine bar-restaurant that we feel like our city is lacking,” Eric tells Eater.

While wine bars are having a certifiable moment in LA proper, they are a relative rarity in this southeast pocket of the city. “The neighborhood’s changed a lot since we first opened, it was just mainly chain restaurants,” says Eric. “Now, there’s an influx of more independent operators, but not anyone that’s pushing the boundaries like this.” Though Bakers and Baristas briefly served a “gastropub” dinner menu eight years ago, this latest iteration reflects how far the Quans have come and where they hope to go in the future. “Everyone’s starting to have a family, so everyone’s starting to move back to Cerritos and we’re just trying to create a space for people who enjoy going out, having a nice meal, having a couple of glasses of wine, and not having to drive to LA or Orange County,” he says.

Spicy blue prawns with Calabrian chile, fermented shrimp butter, fennel pollen, parsley, and scallion ash at Luka in Artesia.
Spicy blue prawns with Calabrian chile, fermented shrimp butter, fennel pollen, parsley, and scallion ash.

Chef Mike Judilla, who worked at Bakers and Baristas when it first opened, spent nearly a decade cooking in Buenos Aires at mom-and-pop restaurants and in Las Vegas at places like the Italian American hot spot Carbone and Wolfgang Puck’s high-end steakhouse CUT before relocating back to LA to open Luka with the Quans. While Luka’s evening menu differs from what’s brewing and baking during daytime hours, the ingredient sourcing philosophy — supporting local and sustainable producers like Long Beach mushrooms and Wiser Family Farms — and dedication to making everything from scratch carries through from day to night.

Luka’s menu is comprised of just over a dozen dishes. Starters include marinated olives with fennel, a hamachi crudo drizzled with chive oil, and a loaf of house-baked country bread paired with salted Isigny Sainte-Mère butter and white anchovies. Judilla’s “Potato Situation” makes for a hearty side dish and consists of a deep-fried, creme fraiche-laced mashed potato puck dusted with chive powder. Shareable mains include squid ink spaetzle slathered in Santa Barbara sea urchin butter, a Peads & Barnett pork collar with green harissa, and a hefty 20-ounce, bone-in Flannery ribeye steak. To pair with Judilla’s cooking is a well-curated beer and wine selection. “Right now we’re still building our wine list,” says Eric. “The goal is to have a good mix of wine at a pretty approachable price point.” Luka’s list of 25 to 30 bottles leans French and natural but also includes Italian and domestic varieties.

Whereas the daytime scene on South Street is boisterous and high energy, Luka brings a moody, candle-lit vibe starting at 5:30 p.m. from Fridays through Sundays. Front-of-house manager Holly Chi runs the 40-seat, full-service dining room. “We’re just trying to create a place that we would like to go to,” Eric says. “Super casual, great food with great sourcing.”

Luka is located at 11700 South Street, Artesia, CA 90701, and is open Friday through Sunday from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Bakers & Baristas / Luka

11700 South Street, Artesia, CA 90701 Visit Website

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