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A New Documentary Shows the Pandemic-Defying Shenanigans of One LA Restaurant

Plus, a bunch of wine and food festivals, breakfast at Ggiata, and more

A white Spanish stucco restaurant shown from the outside at daytime.
Restauration, Long Beach
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Restaurant owner Dana Tanner has received the documentary treatment for her refusal to close Restauration, her Long Beach restaurant, during the height of the pandemic. Tanner landed at the center of a fierce debate about government overreach, public health rules, and the crippling effects of the pandemic on small businesses in 2021, in part by refusing to heed orders to close on-site dining at her restaurant, even as nearby hospitals had begun to ration care due to a lack of available space. Tanner insisted from the outset that she was only trying to keep her business alive and her employees working, though a series of fines, litigation, and criminal charges — stemming in part from allegations that Tanner tried to illegally run a gas line from another address to keep the restaurant going — eventually closed Restauration permanently.

The whole saga, as it turns out, was being captured basically in real-time by an employee with a camera, and now it’s all been edited together in one short documentary. Damn, Dana is now available to watch for free on YouTube.

Some wine events to know about

LA Wine Fest is back June 3 and June 4 in Long Beach. Tickets for the 18th annual event run $70 per person for timed one-day admission or $105 for an all-access pass.

Meanwhile, the California Wine Festival is hitting Dana Point in Orange County on April 14 and April 15. There will be reserve and rare tasting events and a beachside wine day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 15 at Sea Terrace Park. Tickets start at $75.

And food, too

On the food events front, Long Beach’s Cambodian Restaurant Week is here, running March 19 to March 26. Find deals, one-off dishes, collaboration events, and more, all with the express purpose of showing off Long Beach’s deep Cambodian history.

In Pasadena, Masters of Taste returns for 2023 at the Rose Bowl on Sunday, April 2 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Vendors and diners will take to the playing field at the iconic venue to enjoy food from Ayara Thai, Gabi James, Interstellar, Gus’s, Celestino, and more, with Poppy + Rose owners Kwini and Michael Reed on to host the event. Tickets start at $155 for general admission, with all proceeds going to support Union Station Homeless Services.

Another new restaurant name for Century City

True Food Kitchen is opening at the Westfield Century City on May 22. This is the company’s fifth Los Angeles-area location and comes with the usual menu of healthy-leaning options from bowls and salads to pizzas, burgers, and weekend brunch.

Breakfast on deck

Ggiata has launched a weekend-only breakfast menu at both locations on Melrose and in West Hollywood, starting at 9 a.m. The simple East Coast-inspired menu includes options like a bacon egg and cheese sandwich (shown below), served on Jyan Isaac sesame bagels.