Long Beach’s culinary scene has been on the rise in recent years, garnering region-wide attention for new spots like Ammatolí and Battambong BBQ, among a whole host of other names. It should come as no surprise, then, that the city has just landed its very own culinary bookstore and event space named Kitchen Lingo Books.
The new Kitchen Lingo lands right in the thick of Retro Row at 2116 4th Street with plans to be more than just a shop for modern cookbooks and food magazines. Owner Matt Miller (who has a long track record as a restaurant employee, owner, and food writer spanning back to his early days in Chicago — and is also a former Eater contributor) is intent on sourcing staple tomes from years past, including a copy of The Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook that dates to 1930. The shop will also carry community cookbooks filled with hand-me-down recipes, food writing books from names like M.F.K. Fisher (including some first editions), and a slew of vintage and collectible volumes that go well beyond just chef collaboration cookbooks.
What’s more, Miller tells Eater that he plans to host a series of panels and discussions at Kitchen Lingo under the title A Seat at the Table. It’s a tiny space at just about 400 square feet, so expect intimate evenings (yes, around a table) with food professionals on the media and hospitality sides in the coming months. Miller says that he’s aiming to offer something for Long Beach along the lines of Now Serving in LA’s Chinatown by staying local to the city and by branching out even further beyond new titles and big chef names. Ken Concepcion and Michelle Mungcal’s bookstore Now Serving opened in 2017 and is still among the only dedicated culinary literary spaces in Southern California; more recently the pair have grown into larger curated events, panels, and pop-ups as well.
Miller’s Kitchen Lingo opened last weekend and will be expanding its hours of operation and offerings in the coming weeks and months. The shop joins a number of known restaurant and bar names in the Retro Row area, including the new Baby Gee, the always-busy Gusto Bread, and pizza staples like Little Coyote and Speak Cheezy.