Los Angeles Pop-Up Restaurants 2022
The Los Angeles restaurant scene is in bounce-back mode, armed with pre-pandemic learnings yet still facing headwinds. From a funky natural wine bar in a bungalow on Virgil to fried seafood pop-ups that drop menus on Instagram, here’s the scoop.
In East Hollywood, there’s a Sunday-only pop-up called Calabama serving a giant breakfast grilled cheese. Order via Instagram and the sandwich is lowered down to your awaiting arms.
African Chop has a broad appeal, drawing crowds of all races and backgrounds. It’s a way for locals to try out Nigerian food and for immigrants to see their cuisine embraced in the community. The tight menu spotlights fluffy jollof rice in four combo plates that also feature judiciously sweet fried plantains and sauteed spinach. Afolabi aims to make his restaurant a regular stop for people looking to learn about African culture and cuisine.
This year has been a reminder that the LA dining scene is resilient, even in the face of serious challenges like labor shortages and inflation. But it’s also been a year of reinvention, with impromptu eateries like Goan pizza shop Quarter Sheets and Shanghai noodle spot Woon turning into permanent restaurants.
Heng Heng Chicken Rice
In the vein of a quick-and-easy fast-food joint, Heng Heng is a one-dish stop serving chicken rice in fried, boiled and mixed styles. It’s a popular option for locals, and seating is limited so you may have to wait.
A shady patio, good coffee and countercultural messaging make Braindead the go-to destination for fashion hypebeasts during the week, but come weekends, this Fairfax studio is flooded with food hypebeasts looking to sample from the best pop-ups in town. Look out for a new seasonal cocktail menu, too.
There are few things more exciting than watching a breakfast sandwich get lowered in a bucket from the fourth floor of an East Hollywood apartment. Calabama is a Sunday-only pop-up from the chefs behind Sara’s Market in City Terrace.
The tucked-away backyard of this Echo Park spot is perfect for a beer, a snack and some conversation. It’s also the setting for a weekly pop-up restaurant, which showcases the talents of local food entrepreneurs. Expect dishes like fried chicken wings, Korean-style short ribs and garlic shrimp over java rice.
At this roving wine bar in a bungalow on Virgil Ave, diners get to sample the latest vintage from around the world, while also enjoying the eclectic cuisine of chefs who specialize in their regions. Look for Mexican-Jewish hybrids at Malli, or a West African feast at chef Tolu Erogbogbo’s Ile, where spices are imported from Nigerian villages.
Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, this holiday pop-up is the place to be. You’ll find seasonal eats and drinks like the Miracle on Melrose, a boozy treat made with cognac, amaro, St. George pear liqueur and baking spices.
For a couple of years, chef Cara Haltiwanger has been serving up her eggy toasty cheesy breakfast sandwiches with homemade hot sauce at coffee bars and restaurants like Dayglow and the Friend in Silver Lake. But after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she started to find it hard to make her weekend-only pop-up work.
So she came up with a solution that was as novel as it was clever. Since March of 2022, she’s been dropping her sandwiches off her apartment building’s fire escape using a bucket and rope to eager customers—and now, it’s time for her to retire the red bucket. She’ll keep doing her pop-ups, but now she’ll also be bottling and selling her bespoke hot sauce. Check out KTLA’s Your Very Own Story to learn more.
The wildly popular TikTok star has teamed up with LA-based jewelry brand Lily & Co to launch a pop-up featuring exclusive merch. Fans can get their hands on dainty gold pieces made from 95% recycled 14k gold.
The Arts District spot is dedicated to modern Desi street food, with flaky lachha paratha rolls and wagyu beef kabab platters on the menu. Co-owner Asim Bharwani says he and his family developed their concept to share the cultural foods of their Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage with Angelenos.
Korean chef Jihee Kim pulls inspiration from the farmers’ markets at her tiny kitchen in Koreatown with banchan like corn crab salad and fermented carrot in ginger and mandarin zest. Meanwhile, chefs at Malli in East Hollywood combine Mexican and Jewish cuisines with a menu of dishes like pastrami tacos.