Long before Highland Park became the latest go-to food enclave in Los Angeles — Hippo, HomeState and Triple Beam have all recently opened in the neighborhood — there was Good Girl Dinette, chef Diep Tran’s Vietnamese spin on the local diner. For the last 9½ years, Tran has been serving bowls of porridge and pho, spicy chicken wings and ethereal pot pies, in a comfortable, lofty, brick-and-beam-filled space just off Figueroa Street’s main drag. But not for much longer. Tran is closing Good Girl on Oct. 5.
“The margins were so thin, and with the rising costs of, well, everything, I just couldn’t do it anymore,” said Tran Monday morning. “I do feel sad. But I also feel like it’s time.”
Brothers Max and Fred Guerrero are taking over the Good Girl Dinette location for a new outlet of their popular burger restaurant Burgerlords. The Guerreros, whose father is veteran L.A. restaurateur Andre Guerrero (who opened Oinkster and Maximiliano), grew up in nearby Glassell Park.
Fred says they hope to open the new Burgerlords in November. The Highland Park location will be either the second or third location, joining the current Chinatown restaurant, depending on whether the Highland Park shop or the one currently in progress in the Arts District opens first.
In the weeks leading up to Good Girl Dinette’s closing, Tran says she’ll pare down the menu and focus on the classic dishes that made her restaurant a neighborhood favorite: curry pot pies, galangal chicken banh mi, Grandma’s chicken pho and rice cakes with crisp scallion tofu.
“I want it to feel like a big party,” says Tran, who is planning a “big blowout” before the restaurant shutters. As for her plans afterward, she says she might do something smaller, a whole lot smaller, like maybe a farmers market stand for seasonal dishes. For anyone who’s had Tran’s mooncakes, that is reason enough for celebration, albeit one that’s bittersweet.