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All the great things you’ll be eating at the new Beverly Center, including Eggslut and Yardbird

“Mall food,” typically soggy pizza, Chinese takeout and fast-food, is notoriously bad. But would you be more inclined to eat at the mall if your options included chef Alvin Cailan’s Eggslut — the reason behind that giant line at Grand Central Market — or fried chicken from a James Beard Award-winning restaurant?

Upping the mall food game is one of the main drives behind the Beverly Center’s $500-million renovation. When the L.A. mall, which has stood tall at the corner of La Cienega and Beverly boulevards since 1982, finishes its revamp next year, it will include a new food hall and a slew of restaurants designed to turn the mall into a culinary destination.

“We spent a year doing market research to find out what customers think of the center, and food was an important thing that they desired,” said William Taubman, chief operating officer of Taubman Centers Inc., the development company behind the mall, in a phone interview. “And we were the worst in food by far of any of the competitive projects in the market. Part of our reinvention had to include a strong element of creative food that would draw customers as well as change the image of the center.”

It's sort of a call to action to come.

— William Taubman, COO of Taubman Centers, Inc.

So Taubman and his team reached out to one of the main anchors of the mall’s new dining scene, Eggslut. The food truck turned Grand Central Market stall, which recently opened locations in Las Vegas, Venice and Glendale, will face the neighboring Cedars-Sinai hospital, at street level of the center.

“For why we approached them, all you have to do is go on social media and look at the testimonials and the lines on a Saturday afternoon at the market,” said Taubman. “We wanted to have a variety of lifestyles, price points and cuisines.”

The mall will also open a location of Yardbird, restaurateur John Kunkel’s Southern restaurant, known for its fried chicken. The 6,000-square-foot restaurant will have an extensive bourbon program and outdoor patio.

James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina, who was tapped to helm the mall’s new food hall, will also open an 8,200-square-foot restaurant called Cal Mare, on the ground floor of the center, along La Cienega Boulevard. The restaurant will feature coastal Italian food with a focus on seafood. The food hall, named the Street, will be on the eighth floor of the center and include food from 15 to 18 other chefs, served from hawker stations.

Ayesha Curry (wife of NBA star Stephen Curry), plans to open a barbecue stall; chef Gerald Chin will open Kai Poke, a Japanese-influenced seafood stall; and there will be a ramen bar by chef Ken Tominaga. The Street will include a rooftop restaurant and bar, and some of the concepts inside the hall are expected to rotate as a sort of pop-up space for visiting chefs.

A rendering of the new Beverly Center. The mall is undergoing a $500-million renovation project that includes a slew of new restaurants. (Beverly Center)

Also planned for the center is Farmhouse, a new 7,000-square-foot restaurant from Laurent Halasz, who opened the Fig & Olive restaurants (there’s a location up the street from the center on Melrose Place). Farmhouse will focus on four to six ingredients per season, and most items will be cooked in a wood-fired oven and wood grill.

“We have a unique grouping of options and I think that’s really critical today because customers want fresh and new, the ability to try new things,” said Taubman. “It’s sort of a call to action to come.”

Taubman plans to announce more of the restaurants headed for the center later this year.

8500 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 854-0070, www.beverlycenter.com.

Jenn.Harris@latimes.com

@Jenn_Harris_

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