China Cafe, the counter with the wonton soup at Grand Central Market, closes for remodels

China Cafe in Grand Central Market is closing for remodels and will reopen early next year.
China Cafe in Grand Central Market is closing for remodels and will reopen early next year.
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times )

From a new Middle Eastern restaurant on Sunset Boulevard to a gin and tonic bar in Santa Monica, here’s what’s happening in the L.A. world of food and drinks: 

More won ton soup please: Since the 1950s, people have sat shoulder to shoulder at the red counter at the China Cafe inside Grand Central Market, hunched over bowls of steaming wonton soup. If you stopped by for a bowl last week, you may have noticed that the stall was boarded up. That’s because China Cafe has closed for remodels. It’s the latest vendor to participate in the market’s ongoing revamp, which most recently included the opening of Bar Moruno and an updated Valerie. China Cafe will modernize and expand its kitchen, replace some of the stainless steel on the walls with black tiles and restore its sign. But don’t worry, the retro red counter will still be there when the stall reopens. And the bowls of soup will remain the same. The stall will reopen early next year. 317 S. Broadway, Stall C 14, Los Angeles, (213) 628-8481,

Gin and tonics for everyone: Ashland Hill has opened a gin and tonic bar called Brick Bar. The gin-only inspired menu was created by Vincenzo Marianella, the barman behind Copa d’Oro and multiple other cocktail lists around town. The bar has more than 60 varieties of gin, its own honey ginger syrup, and the plan is to eventually make its own tonic. 2807 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 392-3300,

No more paella: Smoke.oil.salt. and Poco Wine Bar, the Spanish restaurant and its wine bar, co-owned by Stephen Gelber and AdVantage Partners (Adam Fleishman and Lee Weinberg), have closed. The restaurant opened in 2014 and was known for its paella and tapas. Both Fleishman and Weinberg are independently working on new projects. 7274 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. 


West Covina eats: The Food Hub, a new restaurant space that includes three different concepts, is now open in West Covina.  This is where you’ll find fresh pastas, smoked burgers and filled Asian breads under the same roof. At Fresh Pasta Creations, you can find fresh pasta, sauces and bread. At Smoke + Burger, look for burgers made with ground beef smoked using apple wood, mesquite or hickory flavor. And at Stuffed Bakery, executive pastry chef Paul Rocque is making sweet and savory stuffed Asian-style buns as well as focaccia for Fresh Pasta Creations and burger buns for Smoke + Burger. 2200 S. Azusa Ave. West Covina, (626) 500-0850

Where to find bastilla on Sunset: George Abou-Daoud, the restaurateur behind Bowery, Delancey, Bowery Bungalow, Twin Sliders, the Mission Cantina and Tamarind Ave. Deli in L.A., plans to open a new Middle Eastern restaurant called Farida in Hollywood next year. The restaurant is named after Abou-Daoud’s grandmother, and menu items were inspired by the owner’s Lebanese-Palestinian mother and Egyptian-Lebanese father. Highlights include chicken musakhan, lamb awarma (made with lamb confit aged for at least 30 days) and pork fried rice with ras el hanout. The cocktail menu will include an emphasis on rosewater, orange blossom, mint, pomegranate and fig. 6266 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood. 

Still hungry? Drum Room, a new lounge at the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, designed by Kenneth Ussenko Design, is now open on the 26th floor of the hotel. Hunter Pritchett and Adam Midkiff of the Goldenboys pop-up restaurant will be cooking vegetable-focused Chinese food at Secret Chinese Delivery in downtown L.A. Wednesdays through Sundays. Antonia Lofaso has launched her own catering company called Antonia Lofaso Catering.

I live for Thrifty chocolate malted krunch. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @Jenn_Harris_



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