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One of LA’s Best Barbecue Spots Is Now Smoking Out of Grand Central Market

Plus, a new take on Apple Pan, a big deal opening in Orange County, and more

A close up shot of a cardboard dish holding fries with tomatoes, meat, cheese, and more at a barbecue restaurant named Maple Block.
Brisket fries from Maple Block Meat Co.
Maple Block Meat Co.
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.

Maple Block Meat Co. is ready to open wide at Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. The formerly Westside-only, award-winning smoked meat operators are selling now from what used to be the Horse Thief patio space at the 106-year-old market, meaning ribs, brisket, links, bowls, wings, and other snacks can be enjoyed by all.

Co-owners Daniel Weinstock and Mike Garrett, along with pitmaster Rudy Suazo, are planning to expand from their Culver City menu to include snackier options (particularly for Dodger game days) like hot dogs, loaded brisket fries, and soft pretzels as well, plus the usual allotment of craft beer and wine. Find Maple Block at 324 S. Hill Street from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

A fun feature on the Apple Pan

The New York Times magazine has debuted a new column around the 213, the central area code for Los Angeles. The column promises to dive deep into LA-area institutions and landmarks, starting with a loving look at none other than Westside burger institution the Apple Pan.

“While the precision-made burgers satisfy and the décor charms, I think what endears regulars to the Apple Pan, whether they realize it or not, is its breakneck, clockwork system,” says LA-based writer Rico Gagliano. “The sense of being cared for by a crack unit — a few of whom have worked there close to 50 years — who know exactly how to optimize every second you spend in a seat.”

New tenant in familiar spaces

There’s a new tenant coming to the Miracle Mile, and landing in the gaudy former upscale Marie Callender’s space at 5773 Wilshire Boulevard, no less. Per What Now LA, Descanso Modern Taqueria will open inside the somewhat infamous space by 2024, promising a teppanyaki-style Mexican dining experience, complete with cocktails and a separate taco bar.

Disneyland’s closed Steakhouse 55 inside the Disneyland Hotel is also finally getting a flip, reports the Press-Enterprise in Riverside. The plan is to overhaul the dining area (which has been closed since July 2021) to bring in more light, making the space multi-functional in the process. There will be bar and lounge areas for customers, though food menus are still a ways off from being finalized.

A taste of Israel

Longtime critic Merrill Shindler finds a lot to like at “hidden vegetarian treasure” Mazal in Lincoln Heights. Shindler, writing for the Eastsider, says the Israeli restaurant is “remarkable,” while lauding Israeli food overall as some of the “most satisfying vegetarian cuisine in the world.”

New openings in Orange County

Big news for Orange County: Nếp Café and Kin Izakaya are on the move. The dual Kei Concepts restaurants — some of the busiest, buzziest places in all of OC — are joining forces under the same roof in Irvine at 14346 Culver Drive. The busy area already includes a Mitsuwa Marketplace, the Irvine location of Baekjeong Korean barbecue, Sup Noodle Bar, and more. Expect an opening by mid-August.

A wide shot of a busy restaurant with diners at every table.
Busy Kin in Orange County.
Wonho Frank Lee