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Tensions Rise as a Historic Little Tokyo Cafe Faces Eviction After 51 Years

Plus, Chifa celebrates Asian Pacific Islanders, Cinco de Mayo in LA, and more

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The original exterior of Suehiro Cafe in 1972.
The original exterior of Suehiro Cafe in 1972.
Suehiro Cafe
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

The Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles is only one of three historic Japantowns left in the country (the others are found in San Francisco and San Jose), and while the area has seen tremendous growth alongside Downtown in recent years, it has led to a stunning number of longtime businesses and restaurant closures as well. Now comes another loss, as 51-year-old Suehiro Cafe says that it is being evicted from its longtime 1st Street space.

According to the Los Angeles Times, owner Kenji Suzuki has been engaged in a battle with his landlord to try to keep Suehiro Cafe at its current address. Suzuki’s landlord Anthony Sperl tells the Times that Suehiro Cafe faces eviction due to nonpayment of rent, but Suzuki counters by saying that he has tried to pay his rent throughout the last year via check, but that none of those checks have been cashed. The debate has come to a head, with Suzuki being given an eviction notice last month. Suzuki tells the Times that he plans to move the restaurant to a Main Street space, hopefully by June.

The displacement rate of Little Tokyo’s longtime businesses and residents ran high over the last three years, with the article pointing directly at rail development as one cause. Some of those losses include the decades-old Ebisu Japanese Izakaya, Oreno Yakiniku Japanese Bar-B-Cue, and SKD Tofu House.

Chifa and Monarch at the annual Gold Gala

The Gold Gala, taking place at the Music Center this Saturday, is the latest event to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. This annual party will honor Asian and Pacific Islanders for their impact on culture, and will include attendees and honorees like actors Ke Huy Quan, Sandra Oh, and Ali Wong. Chifa and Monarch owner Humberto Leon is taking care of the cocktail and dinner menus for 700 people, crafting a unique family-style menu that is not available at any either restaurant. Check out the menu below, which follows the Gold Bridge theme of the evening.

New brunch in Silver Lake and a new everything in Eagle Rock

Bar Moruno’s new brunch starts this Saturday, May 5, running from 11:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Chef Chris Feldmeier’s weekly menu includes a wood-oven baked hoe cake, shakshuka, and something called a bull shot with vodka, sherry, and beef bone broth.

A few miles over at Lemon Poppy Kitchen, the 11-year-old daytime restaurant in the Eagle Rock / Glassell Park area debuted a remodeled space and updated menu, while stepping away from fast casual and into a full-service dining model. Lemon Poppy also introduced a weekday happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. with cocktails, non-alcoholic options, and an array of beer and wine.

Campo é Carbón releases reservations for May dinners

Campo é Carbón just released dates for their latest Valle de Guadalupe-inspired backyard dinners. These sell out quickly, so act accordingly if a seat is desired on either May 13 or 27 in La Puente.

Coronation celebrations

Though support for the British monarchy continues to drop, the coronation of Charles III and Camilla is still seen as a big deal by many. The global event takes place this Saturday, May 6, and several LA spots are hosting celebrations. Bob’s Well Bread in Ballard and Los Alamos has a coronation day package featuring a chicken salad sandwich, scones, and Yorkshire tea for those up north, while locally Ye Olde King’s Head and the Brittania Pub both have parties planned as well.

At the Cat & Fiddle, coronation time starts today, with diners able to pre-order the full menu for takeout. On Saturday and Sunday, the restaurant will host a watch party starting at noon with afternoon tea, the coronation quiche, cake, champagne, and a full menu of other treats.

Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles

While May 5 is not actually Mexican Independence Day (that’s September 16), plenty of restaurants across the country still love to show up big for Cinco de Mayo. That includes mariachis at El Granjero Cantina, a horchata doughnut at Holey Grail Doughnuts, and a $25 mezcal flight at Madre, which houses what may be the largest mezcal collection in the country.

The mezcal collection at Madre restaurant in West Hollywood.
The mezcal collection at Madre West Hollywood.
Jakob Layman

Suehiro Cafe

337 East 1st Street, , CA 90012 (213) 626-9132 Visit Website