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Yet Another Big Boston Chef Is Opening Restaurants in Los Angeles

James Beard Award-winning Tim Cushman has landed in Santa Monica, part of a wave of Boston names that have arrived in Los Angeles as of late

A single fried piece of seaweed cut to look like a taco with sushi inside on a white plate.
Spicy tuna in a fried nori “taco” shell.
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.

One of Boston’s busiest chefs is opening in Santa Monica in the coming weeks, rolling out a trio of fast-casual restaurant concepts inside a walkable food hall right on the Third Street Promenade. The James Beard Award-winning chef Tim Cushman and restaurateur and partner Nancy Cushman — known for Boston restaurants O Ya, Bianca, and others — will open three different restaurant concepts under the same Kitchen United Mix roof, beginning today with some laid-back Japanese food.

Gogo Ya opens today at 1315 3rd Street in Santa Monica, selling bento bowls and nori tacos with fillings like salmon teriyaki and soy-braised mushrooms. The operation is meant to act as an offshoot of the original O Ya in Boston, a two-time James Beard Award semifinalist for Outstanding Restaurant. Cushman actually first got a sense of Japanese food while living in Los Angeles, cooking for years under Nobu Matsuhisa, Roy Yamaguchi, and others.

Next up is Ms. Clucks Deluxe, a fried chicken and dumplings takeaway that sells a cajun-spiced karaage sandwich, a ramen and chicken wonton bowl, and a chicken-based smashburger with teriyaki glaze and sesame mayo. That outpost will arrive at the end of the month, followed by Mr. Roni Cups, a pizza stop for both round and pan pizzas. The Mr. Roni Cups in Boston works a menu of Roman-style pies exclusively, though this West Coast iteration could expand beyond that in the coming weeks, once it opens in mid-May. All of Cushman’s new projects land at Kitchen United Mix, a dual-use food hall and delivery kitchen space where diners can walk up to place orders in person from small stands inside. The address also holds restaurant names like Blu Jam’s express breakfast takeout and salad bowl option Farmesa.

A small sign for a restaurant hangs inside of a mixed-use building surrounded by steel and light fixtures.
Signage for Gogo Ya in Santa Monica.
A red-haired woman stands next to a man with glasses in a chef’s coat.
Nancy and Tim Cushman.

Perhaps most importantly, the Cushmans plan to use their new bi-coastal status to scout more formal restaurant locations in the future. The pair joins a crop of other Boston names, including celebrated chef Tony Messina, who have decided to set up shop in Los Angeles recently. Messina (who is popping up at Esters Wine Bar on Tuesday, April 25 with a preview of his coming restaurant the Surf Clam) is joined in his seafood love by white-hot Sunset Strip spot Saltie Girl, which also originated in Boston. Meanwhile, the venerable Cape Cod restaurant Sal’s Place from Provincetown, Massachusetts is even quietly popping up in LA at the moment, landing in the closed former Il Piccolino space in at 350 N. Robertson in West Hollywood.