Longtime Los Angeles restaurateur and omnipresent Food Network personality Chris Oh has brought a new dining destination to destination-dense Koreatown, launching his restaurant and lounge Juliana on busy 6th Street last month. The former EMC Seafood space has turned from a sunny corner spot for oysters and wine to a moodier restaurant and lounge that aims to seamlessly take diners and drinkers from daytime to late night.
With low marble tables, lots of couches and plush seating, and plenty of glowing accent lights, Juliana is meant to serve as a middle space for Koreatown diners. “Koreatown has become such a destination for food over the past decade,” says Oh. “Everybody from everywhere comes here to eat Korean barbecue or whatever. But they eat [that], and often that’s it. Unless you’ve got a friend who can take you to the secret spots.”
Instead of going the secret route, the celebrity chef (along with partner Shawn Oh of Ten Ramen) decided to go big, opening up right on the corner near some of Koreatown’s biggest restaurant names. He sees Juliana as a place for dinner and also a cocktail spot for after-work crowds or customers who don’t feel like waiting for a table in a parking lot near bustling Chapman Plaza. “This is a lounge for before or after dinner,” says Oh. “We want you to come in, have great drinks, and maybe stay until 2 a.m.”
There will definitely be drinks beyond beer, wine, and soju, Oh says, with Juliana offering a full menu of cocktails and even bottles for groups. The chef has experience going both high and low, previously helping to operate the Seoul Sausage Co. food trucks (for which he won a Great Food Truck Race season) and opening his hip San Francisco hangout Umma, among other projects. The restaurant side of things will encompass dishes as varied as brunch benedicts, daytime salads, pastas, and a seafood risotto that’s heavy on lobster. “The vibes are chill,” Oh says. “It’s a lounge, a bar, a restaurant, all with a kind of Miami Art Deco look.”
More than anything, Oh says, he’s just happy to be bringing something new to Koreatown, a part of Los Angeles that he loves and that has supported him tremendously throughout the years. “The name is a nod to this old school club [Juliana’s] that used to be in K-Town and is still very big in Korea,” Oh says. “I’ve just always wanted to open something here that felt like that.”
The new Juliana opened last month at 3500 W. 6th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020. Hours run daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.