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Veteran Korean American Chef Opens Adorable New Banchan Shop in Echo Park

Plus, a wine heist in Venice, the LA hotel worker strike pauses, and more

A plastic container filled with seaweed wrapped eggs and veggies from Perilla’s Jihee Kim in Echo Park.
Gimbap from Perilla’s Jihee Kim in Echo Park.
Matthew Kang
Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

There’s nothing better than a friendly local banchan store, and the tiny 200-square-foot gem of Perilla is already drawing fans to its adorable shop in Echo Park with an opening this past weekend. Founded by chef Jihee Kim, who has worked at Rustic Canyon and was inspired by the small banchan shops of her hometown of Busan, South Korea, Perilla fulfills the promise of seasonal Korean appetizers and side dishes with often deep fermentation and hand-flavoring called sohnmat. Kim has been established as part of the wave of modern, chef-influenced Korean food emerging in Los Angeles in recent years, including the affordable tasting menu at Kinn and updated gastropub fare at Tokki.

Kim received high praise from the New York Times for her Instagrammable takeout banchan, and the appealing presentation also shows up at Perilla’s permanent shop, which took over two years to open. Expect a small array of entrees, including dosirak (combination plates a la bento boxes); banchan plate with rice; marinated beef over rice; seared mushrooms over rice; and gimbap filled with egg, mushroom, and avocado. A small display allows for a custom banchan meal that can be enjoyed at the restaurant’s outdoor patio tables, along with a tight selection of natural wines and craft beer. Hours are currently 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday to Sunday.

Outside Perilla, a banchan store, in Echo Park.
Outside Perilla in Echo Park.
Matthew Kang

Hotel workers strike across Los Angeles

On Sunday, LA hotel workers went on strike to demand higher wages and more benefits, disrupting the local hospitality industry during one of the year’s busiest holiday weekends. Earlier today, the Washington Post reported that the strike would be paused, even though an agreement has not been reached between Unite Here Local 11 and the Hotel Association of Los Angeles. Since the strike is just on pause, workers could walk out at any time. The Westin Bonaventure in Downtown, which is one major hotel that hires 600 people, came to an agreement with its workers.

A wine heist in Venice

Lincoln Fine Wines was the target of a theft that resulted in over $600,000 of stolen high-end and vintage wine last weekend, reports the Los Angeles Times. Owner Nazmul Haque said a thief broke in during the middle of the night and took many of the shop’s expensive French Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Champagne bottles, part of a collection that took years to put together. It seems parts of the security system were disabled prior to the theft.

A phoenix rises in San Diego

Popular SGV-based dessert shop Phoenix has expanded to Kearny Mesa in San Diego, reports Eater San Diego, joining the ranks of Home State, Copa Vida, and Fika Fika, which have all expanded from LA to down south. Phoenix Dessert comes from the family that founded Phoenix Inn in Chinatown more than 60 years ago.

Boston’s finest pops up in Santa Monica

Chef Tony Messina, who was awarded the James Beard Best Chef: East award in 2019 and who departed the highly-regarded Uni back in 2021, will be doing a seafood pop-up at Tallula’s in Santa Monica beginning July 10. Expect lobster rolls, fried clams, and other beach-worthy snacks, with reservations available on Resy.