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Collage of food photographs from the month of July

The best places to eat and drink in L.A. right now, according to our food writers

As hard as it is to believe, we’ve reached the month of August, which always seems to drag by, likely because it’s also when the summer heat reaches critical levels. Around this time of year, Southern Californians flock to air conditioned spaces, whether that means hovering close to the wall unit at home, reliving your youth by stalking local malls or cozying into a plush restaurant booth, with a manufactured breeze that makes eating above-room-temperature food appealing for a change. And then there are those balmy summer evenings for dawdling on a garden patio with fresh oysters, a tinned fish spread or other seafood delights.

From downtown skyscrapers to the Hollywood Hills and views of the Pacific Ocean, get outdoors to enjoy the best rooftop restaurants and bars in L.A. for the summer season and beyond.

Sept. 15, 2023

Or maybe you just want to skip town. If you’re visiting Mexico City anytime soon, you’ll want to browse the insider intel that Times food editor Daniel Hernandez shares from living in the capital of Mexico. The guides feature valuable insights like what to tip and when to avoid the Metro, a roundup of Hernandez’s favorite tacos, cantinas and pulque spots and a thoughtful treatise on how the city has changed in the years since he actively lived there.

But if you’re mapping out your L.A. dining plans for August, our reporters have you covered, including a new Rajasthani restaurant in Artesia’s Little India, a highly anticipated Korean-influenced omakase in Gardena, a New York bakery and an iconic Italian institution that have spread their wings west and much more. Here’s everywhere you need to eat and drink this month:

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Shartaj Thali platter featuring kadahi paneer, right, and dal.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)


Artesia Indian $$
Opened in February on the stretch of Artesia’s Pioneer Boulevard that’s known colloquially as Little India is Bhookhe, offering plates and bowls that share a glimpse into the cuisine of India’s largest state, Rajasthan. Owners Anshul and Pooja Dwivedi are newcomers to the restaurant industry but have won a loyal customer base with an 80-item menu featuring Rajasthani favorites like gatte ki sabji, chickpea dumplings in an aromatic yogurt sauce and mirchi vada, green chile fritters filled with spiced potatoes and fried in chickpea batter, plus curries, vegetarian dishes, appetizers, breads and desserts. The narrow dining room is popular for both lunch and dinner and doesn’t take reservations, but the thali feast will be worth the wait.
Read about the new Rajasthani restaurant in Artesia.
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Glasses filled with colorful drinks.
(Giada Paoloni / Dante)

Dante Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills Italian Cocktails
An iconic, century-old restaurant from New York City has landed in sleek new digs on the rooftop of the Maybourne Beverly Hills hotel, featuring sparkling views, a pianist and Italian classics including apertivi, wood-fired pizzas, pastas and an array of spritzes, negronis and martinis. The New York original first opened in 1915 in Greenwich Village as a casual option, while its sister location in the West Village offers exclusively wood-fired fare. The new Beverly Hills outpost is meant to blend both concepts while also featuring exclusive-to-California items, like octopus with fingerling potatoes and wild fennel and wood-fired pizzas with toppings like zucchini, squash blossoms, stracciatella and pesto. On the beverage side, you’ll find a selection of agave-led cocktails in addition to the Italian classics.
Read about Beverly Hills’ newest rooftop destination.
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A hand holds a chocolate chip walnut cookie from Levain Bakery Los Angeles against a black wall.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Levain Bakery

Larchmont Bakery Desserts $$
Levain Bakery rises with a new location on Larchmont Boulevard, offering the same signature breads, pastries and 6-ounce cookies that have made it a New York staple for almost 30 years. For cookies, find the classic chocolate chip walnut, as well as a vegan and gluten-free version, plus dark-chocolate peanut butter chip, coconut caramel chocolate chip and a seasonal Rocky Road. Additional pastries include blueberry muffins, raisin sticky buns and sour cream coffee cake, plus whole-grain loaves. The coffee program is helmed by local cafe and roastery Canyon Coffee. Though the grand opening brought tailgating crowds, this location also offers takeout if you prefer to skip the line.
Read about the expansion of a New York bakery.
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Four banchan on a green tray, from clockwise: yuba, mushrooms, green beans, and fermented melon
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


Chinatown Korean $$
After running Perilla as a successful, COVID-19 pandemic-born pop-up featuring hyper-seasonal banchan, kimbap and other Korean dishes, chef Jihee Kim has landed in a bricks-and-mortar within a new bungalow court in Chinatown. In addition to mix-and-match combos with California ingredients like soy-marinated mushrooms with diced serano peppers and yuba mixed with yuzu marmalade and tomatoes, Perilla also offers beer and wine, available for takeout or to enjoy on the patio.
Read about the new Korean banchan cafe and market in Chinatown.
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A vegan cheese and cracker plate and tempura-fried artichokes with a green goddess sauce.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

Plant Food + Wine

Beverly Grove Vegan $$$
Popular vegan chef and restaurateur Matthew Kenney has opened a new location of Plant Food + Wine on the fourth floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, after closing his Venice flagship this spring. The poolside restaurant features an updated menu with plant-based breakfast, lunch and dinner options, plus an evening tasting menu. Highlights include a smoked tofu Benedict with turmeric Hollandaise, Vadouvan taquitos with refried chickpeas, a raw heirloom tomato and zucchini lasagna with pistachio pesto and macadamia ricotta and stone fruit creamsicles with vanilla gelato. With a chewy consistency and slightly funky taste, the Climax blue cheese on the cheese and cracker plate tastes remarkably similar to the real thing.
Read about the new location of Plant Food + Wine.
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A charcuterie and cheese board, a glass of red wine and a glass of white wine behind.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

NiteThyme Wine Bar

Koreatown Wine Bars $$
Head to 3 Thyme Coffee and Tea after 8 p.m. on a Monday, Thursday or Saturday, or after 6 p.m. on Sundays and you’ll be treated to an entirely different experience. NiteThyme Wine Bar features charcuterie, conservas and a global wine selection available by the glass and bottle, with special attention paid to Chilean producers as a tribute to sommelier Fahara Zamorano’s heritage. Here, production methods and good quality wine are prioritized over region or varietal, with emphasis placed on labels that practice regenerative, organic and biodynamic farming. In the future, Zamorano plans to host food pop-ups and trucks as well as expand the beverage selection to include sake and nonalcoholic options, plus soju, cider and beer.
Read about Koreatown’s after-dark wine bar.
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Steak frites, tempura-fried sweet potatoes and chimichurri sauce.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)


Santa Monica Japanese $$
Initially set to open in the summer of 2019, Shirubē, the Tokyo-born izakaya chain from the Raku Corp., has just launched its first U.S. location in Santa Monica in the former Musha Restaurant space. From owners and brothers Kodai and Yudai Uno, the menu features sashimi, sushi, karaage, corn ribs, blue crab chawanmushi, mentaiko udon, flame-seared mackerel and more, with sake and Japanese beer rounding out the beverage side. The industrial space is long and narrow, with tables for two as well as counter seating with a view of the chefs at work.
Read about Santa Monica’s latest izakaya opening.
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A platter and plates of food at Queen Street restaurant.
(Last Word Hospitality)

Queen Street

Eagle Rock Seafood $$$
The restaurant group behind Found Oyster, Caipirinha Bar and Barra Santos has just opened Queen Street in Eagle Rock, with a focus on seafood and plates that pull inspiration from the Southern Atlantic coast. The menu features many of the dishes that chef-partner Ari Kolender grew up eating in Charleston, S.C., including fried flounder with apricot agridolce, deviled crab fritters and a baked potato with pimento cheese. The wine list is curated by wine director Eva Goreshnik, with French, Italian, California and other wines available by the glass and bottle, in addition to sake, sherry and a captain’s list of rare libations. The restaurant features double the seating of popular Found Oyster bar in Virgil Village, with 20 seats around the horseshoe bar reserved for walk-ins.
Read about the new Southern-inflected seafood restaurant in Eagle Rock.
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A plate of jerk chicken with risotto garnished with pickled carrots and peppers.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


Hollywood Eclectic $$
Opening on an oddly calm stretch of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood is Linden, a New York-inspired restaurant from chef Jon Harris, named in honor of the international cuisines found on Linden Boulevard, which traverses from Long Island to Brooklyn. The menu pays special attention to Caribbean, Southern, Jewish and Italian cuisines, blending inspiration from different culinary heritages to come up with dishes like sorrel-braised cabbage stuffed with tender oxtail, jerk-seasoned duck served with a rice and peas risotto and bread service that includes cornbread, challah and foccacia served with butter fashioned into the shape of a drumstick with a fried chicken crust. Rugelach bread pudding rounds out the dessert menu and the beverage list features Trinidadian and Jamaican influence as a tribute to Harris’ business partner Scott Williams’ roots, using ingredients like sorrel, pineapple and ginger beer.
Read about a New York-inspired restaurant in L.A.
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Head-on shrimp scampi, meatballs and cheese-topped garlic bread.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


Echo Park Italian $$
From owners Michael Francesconi and Matthew Glaser (Lowboy, Bar Flores and Wolf and Crane), Donna’s is bringing East Coast-style Italian American cuisine to the neighborhood of Echo Park, with a bar program to match. The former Adamae space has been transformed into a cozy den with forest green walls and hanging plants; the menu features classics including piccata, marsala, spaghetti and meatballs and desserts like tiramisu and cannoli. Chef Sathia Sun (formerly of Union and Felix) is also adding seasonal, California-inflected touches, like head-on prawn scampi and bruschetta with charred figs and goat cheese. The beverage program features takes on negronis, martinis and classic Italian cocktails and spirits, plus Italian and California wines.
Read about Echo Park’s East Coast Italian spot.
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The exterior eating area at a new restaurant, at dusk.
(Avablu / Casalena)


Woodland Hills Mediterranean $$
Inspired by coastal European resorts, Casaléna lands in a sprawling, 8,000-square-foot space in Woodland Hills, including multiple dining rooms and a large patio with string lights and foliage. It’s the first restaurant from siblings Chloe, Brandon and Tyler Makhani of hospitality and realty group Avondale Equities, and it was built on the site where their parents were married and formerly ran a restaurant. The menu from culinary director Danielle Sobel (Catch LA) and Lobo Leon (the Rose, Cento Pasta Bar) skews Mediterranean, with charred octopus with chorizo vinaigrette, seafood spaghetti, stuffed squash blossoms, Greek salad, lamb chops and pizzas. The beverage menu is similarly influenced with martinis, a Mediterranean margarita and a blood orange spritz, plus European and California wines and Italian and Spanish beers.
Read about the opening of a sprawling Mediterranean restaurant in Woodland Hills.
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A fully dressed cheeseburger sits atop an order of fries in a blue paper basket.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Thicc Burgers

Fairfax Burgers $
The roving Thicc Burgers pop-up from chef Jean “Jay” Wolfe has returned to L.A. with a new food truck and a 1,500-square-foot stall at the Original Farmers Market, courtesy of the New Originals contest. The menu features thick, 4-ounce burger patties, similar to the ones Wolfe grew up eating from Hawkins House of Burgers and Fatburger, with classic fixings as well as a spicy version with charred jalapeños and pepper jack cheese; a “Phatty” melt with caramelized onions, pickles and cheese; and a grilled cheese sandwich. Fries are available as a side, including garlic fries and a loaded option with chopped cheeseburger and house-made sauce. The stall is set to open Aug. 17, but you can order online from the truck or check the schedule via Instagram to see where it’ll be parked.
Read about the burger stall that’s set to open at the Original Farmers Market.
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Chicken wings from Mama Hieu's in Garden Grove.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Mama Hieu's

Garden Grove Vietnamese $
This pandemic-era pop-up from Nho Thi Le and her son Nho Thi Le became a full-time business after neighbors smelled the garlic butter chicken wings that the pair were making in their backyard for family and friends. More people began placing orders and word quickly spread after an Instagram account was created. Customers can place orders for the fried chicken that’s heaped with sauteed garlic and green onions via phone, Instagram or Facebook for pickup at the Garden Grove home. The Les are hoping to secure a nearby restaurant space by the end of the year.
Read about two must-try summer pop-ups.
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A large seared scallop over corn purée with Dungeness crab on a black plate.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


Long Beach Californian $$$
The only Los Angeles-area eatery to be awarded a new star for the 2023 Michelin guide in California, one of the industry’s most respected honors, is Heritage in Long Beach, a produce-driven restaurant from siblings Lauren and Philip Pretty that sources generously from local farmers markets, including the Pretty’s local farm. An often-changing, six-course tasting menu with optional wine pairings is available, with current highlights such as seared diver scallops with corn and Dungeness crab, grilled rib-eye with short rib jam and black garlic pomme puree and fig leaf ice cream with honeycomb crumble. Make a reservation to dine at the renovated Craftsman-style home or visit Heritage Farm down the street for live music and drinks in the garden from 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays.
Read about the recently awarded 2023 Michelin stars.
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A trio of skewered, grilled head-on prawns porcelain platter at Cobi's in Santa Monica.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


Santa Monica Southeast Asian $$
Offering Southeast Asian dishes in an idyllic garden setting where roses, eucalyptus and ivy dangle from the ceiling and march across floral wallpaper, with climbing vines and bougainvillea on the patio, Cobi’s has been a neighborhood favorite since it opened in Santa Monica in 2020. It’s likely to get a lot busier now that it’s been added to the 2023 Michelin Guide of Bib Gourmand restaurants in California that offer high-quality food at a great value. Stop by for brunch to enjoy chicken or mushroom satay, roti wraps and Kaya French toast with a pink guava frosé or Carbonic sangria, or for dinner with wok-tossed vegetables, curries and wood-grilled items, with plenty of natural wines for pairing.
Read about the 2023 Michelin Guide additions in California.
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A tray of crispy stuffed chicken from Colette.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)


East Pasadena Cantonese Dim Sum $$
In Pasadena, chef Peter Lai offers a globetrotting take on Cantonese cuisine at Colette, which was previously a daytime cafe and reopened under Lai’s influence last fall. The crispy stuffed chicken is the star of the show, best paired with vegetable dishes like wok-tossed chayote with minced pork and pickled onions and Chinese okra that’s stir-fried in salted egg yolk. There are also off-menu dishes, such as Singaporean chili crab, winter melon soup and lobster stir-fried with sticky rice that must be ordered at least one day in advance for dine-in. For drinks, there’s a selection of hot teas, sake, beer and Champagne.
Read critic Bill Addison’s review of Colette.
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A paleta from Viva Cafe in Koreatown.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Viva Cafe

Koreatown Oaxacan $
Summer temperatures are rising, which means you’re probably in need of a cooling treat to grab on the go. Koreatown’s Viva Cafe has you covered with fresh juices, agua frescas, smoothies, milkshakes, ice cream and paletas that act as a tribute to the Oaxacan background of owners Rafael Miguel and his daughter Briseida Mendez. Columnist Jenn Harris hails the paleta oaxaqueña, which combines three types of milk, a little smoke and fresh pitaya. A host of flavors are available, including nondairy options like mango chamoy, passion fruit, nance, tamarind and jamaica.
Cool down with this Oaxacan cafe in Koreatown.
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(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)


Altadena Thai $$
David Tewasart, the owner of the Sticky Rice mini-chain, with locations in Grand Central Market, Highland Park and soon, West 3rd Street, has opened what he calls his passion project, Miya, on Lake Avenue in Altadena. Named after his 6-year-old daughter, it serves home-style Thai cuisine. The handwritten menu is short with soups, stir fries, noodles, curries and papaya salad. The pad thai is already emerging as a favorite dish, though it might be more savory, less sweet and less saucy than what you’re used to, with thin, pho-style rice noodles that are fried with pickled radish, baked tofu and egg, then garnished with crumbled pork cracklings, raw bean sprouts, stalks of green onion, dried chiles, crushed peanuts and a wedge of lime. If you see the fried chicken on the changing menu, columnist Jenn Harris encourages you to add it to your order. The restaurant has plans to offer indoor dining and expand into lunch hours, but it is open for takeout or dine-in on a few sidewalk stools.
Read about David Tewasart’s latest restaurant opening.
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A small bowl of uni-topped  summer-corn chawanmushi at Sushi Sonagi in Gardena
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Sushi Sonagi

Sushi $$$
Second-generation sushi chef and Katsu Sando co-owner Daniel Son has embarked on a new chapter with the opening of Sushi Sonagi, a new Korean-inflenced omakase. Here, the menu cycles weekly, with rotating dishes like uni chawanmushi with summer corn and shiitake, baby white shrimp nigiri and tamago topped with bruléed miso butter. Sushi Sonagi has two seatings per night, with nine guests per seating. Rolling reservations are unlocked at midnight 30 days in advance of the date and fill up almost instantly.
Read about Daniel Son’s new Gardena restaurant.
An overhead photo of a half grilled Jidori chicken with sides.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Charcoal Sunset

West Hollywood American $$$
Chef Josiah Citrin (Citrin, Melisse, Charcoal Venice) has expanded his live-fire concept to a 230-seat, indoor-outdoor space in West Hollywood, with many of the signature dishes available at the new location. Guests can opt for vegetables and starters like Yukon potatoes “baked in the coals,” coal-roasted carrots and cabbage “baked in the embers,” as well as proteins like cedar plank salmon with a hibiscus rub, grilled whole Maine lobster with yuzu butter, half Jidori chicken and a selection of prime beef cuts, plus a raw bar, tuna and steak tartare and pastas. Cocktails take similar inspiration, with a Midnight Margarita that’s given an after-dark look with activated charcoal and Smoke on the Water, with bourbon, bitters and smoke.
Read about Josiah Citrin’s restaurant expansion to West Hollywood.
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Overhead of a spread of barbecue meat and sides.
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

Bludso's BBQ

Santa Monica Barbecue $$
Chef Kevin Bludso is known for making some of the best barbecue in town, boasting a Texas-meets-California style that’s earned him a James Beard award for “The Bludso Family Cookbook” released in 2022 and a role as a recurring judge on Netflix’s “Barbecue Showdown” and “Bar Rescue.” Now, he’s opened his first bricks-and-mortar restaurant in a decade in Santa Monica, with many of the same meats and sides that first won him over available at the new location, including on-site smoked meats like brisket, pork ribs, rib tips, sausage links and even plant-based jackfruit, as well as mac and cheese, collard greens, baked beans with brisket, potato salad and more. A full bar is available, as well as TVs that frequently stream live sports games.
Read about the new Bludso’s location.
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An overhead photo of tom yum spaghetti, topped with fried basil, on a red and white tray at Crazy Thai Burger in Koreatown.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Crazy Thai Burger

Koreatown Thai $$
The Sathirathiwat family behind the Radna Silom sidewalk stall in Thai Town is putting down roots in Koreatown with a fast-casual concept called Crazy Thai Burger that features a selection of Thai-influenced burgers. You can still head to Hollywood for noodle dishes, or visit the new bricks-and-mortar for a krapow-inspired burger with a chicken, pork and beef patty, fried egg and sweet and sour roasted Thai chile sauce; or a Larb burger with a sticky rice bun. There’s also a tom yum shrimp spaghetti dish and a few rice bowls, plus orange juice slushies and boba Thai iced tea.
Read about the Sathirathiwats new burger stand in Koreatown.
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An overhead of a bowl of dan dan noodles, a box of popcorn chicken and bags of Asian potato chips.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Gingergrass Mini Mart

East Hollywood Vietnamese $$
Gingergrass Mini Mart, an expanded sibling concept to Silver Lake’s Vietnamese restaurant Gingergrass, has opened in East Hollywood, offering pantry items and a menu centered on broad South Asian flavors. Co-owner John Himmelstein brought on culinary director Andrew Lo to create a menu that brings together Vietnamese, Cantonese, Thai and Indonesian flavors, featuring dishes like dan dan noodles with lemongrass-scented pork, coconut curry noddles with summer tomatoes and broccolini, a cucumber and mango salad and more, with beverages like sparkling fruit coffee, iced Vietnamese coffee and calamansi iced tea. A selection of retail snacks and grocery items is also available for purchase.
Read about the new mini mart from Gingergrass.
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A cook behind the counter at a restaurant that features shawarma spits.
(Bill Addison / Los Angeles Times)

Sincerely Syria

Sherman Oaks Syrian $
Critic Bill Addison has revealed two of his new favorite shawarma spots, both in subsections of the San Fernando Valley. Sincerely Syria is the second storefront for Adham Kamal, who also opened Hollywood Shawarma in 2021, which Addison described as the best in Southern California. The new, slightly expanded shop on Ventura Boulevard also specializes in shawarma, with options of chicken or a beef and lamb mixture that Kamal carves from a vertical spit. The beef and lamb shawarma wrap comes spread with tahini, while the lemony chicken comes with a whipped garlic sauce, though 12- and 24-inch combination wraps are also available, with fries and extra pickles. Addison recommends starting with the classic wrap and then working your way up to customizations like extra garlic sauce, pickles or a scattering of French fries.
Read about the new shawarma spot on Ventura Boulevard.
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Beef shawarma wraps next to French fries.
(Shelby Moore )

Mama's Shawarma

Northridge Syrian $
Fans of the Mama’s Shawarma food truck that began in 2021 and closed operations last year will be overjoyed to learn that mother-and-son team Krstein Kantarji and Eyad Kawak have landed in a restaurant in the Plaza di Northridge shopping center. The pair are still serving their signature beef and chicken shawarma wraps on lavash bread, as well as appetizers like baba ghanoush and hummus, falafel, kebabs, tabbouleh and other greens, plus gyro-style burgers and sandwiches slathered in tzatziki.
Read about Mama’s Shawarma’s new permanent location.
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