This ‘Top Chef’ alum is opening a restaurant devoted to Japanese fried chicken in downtown L.A.

Is Los Angeles reaching peak fried chicken?

With Timothy Hollingsworth’s CJ Boyd’s fried chicken shop at the Fields L.A. food hall at the Banc of California stadium, Lucky Bird fried chicken at Grand Central Market and Karayama in Little Tokyo, all opening in the last couple of months, you could say Los Angeles is in the middle of a fried chicken renaissance.

For the record:

1:45 p.m. Sept. 25, 2018A previous version of this story mentioned Karaage Little Tokyo. The restaurant’s name is Karayama.

And it’s continuing with chef Kuniko Yagi’s Pikunico, opening at the Row in downtown L.A. in October.

You may recognize Yagi from her time as chef at Hinoki and the Bird, or David Meyers’ now-closed Comme Ca. Or maybe you saw her on Season 10 of the Bravo show “Top Chef.”

She’s opening Pikunico in partnership with Kaizen Dining Group (the same folks behind Kabuki and Tengoku ramen), and she’s built the restaurant around a single dish: karaage, also known as Japanese fried chicken. This style of fried chicken is typically marinated and dredged in potato or corn starch before frying.

At Pikunico, Kuniko will serve the chicken in a sandwich, a basket or a rice bowl accompanied by salads and sides. And there will be Japanese craft beer.


And the name? It’s a combination of “picnic” and “Kuniko.” The restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner.

767 S. Alameda St., Los Angeles, (213) 278-0407,

Instagram: @Jenn_Harris_