Wildly popular smashburger pop-up Heavy Handed to launch first restaurant

A photo of two Heavy Handed double cheese burgers stacked on top of each other.
Longtime friends Max Miller and Danny Gordon teamed up to launch Heavy Handed as a tented pop-up in early 2020. In October 2022, the pair hope to open their first restaurant.
(Ben Bashor / Heavy Handed)

Plus, a new plant-based option in Los Feliz, a long-awaited bakery and cafe in Long Beach, and more.


Heavy Handed

One of L.A.’s most popular burger pop-ups is set to open its first bricks-and-mortar restaurant this fall. Heavy Handed, which launched first as a sidewalk smashburger operation, then as a food truck making the rounds to L.A.-area breweries and events, is headed to Santa Monica. The first restaurant from owners Danny Gordon and Max Miller will continue to offer Heavy Handed’s short rib burger patties topped with American cheese, griddled onions and house-made pickles with sides of beef tallow-fried French fries, but the restaurant — which will take over the former Edobox by Makoto space — will expand the menu with soft serve, craft beer and natural wine by the glass and bottle. The opening of Heavy Handed’s first restaurant is targeted to early October; additional bricks-and-mortar locations are planned, while the food truck will continue to operate as a catering vehicle.

2912 Main St., Santa Monica,


Seabirds Kitchen

Plant-based restaurant Seabirds Kitchen, already with locations in Costa Mesa and Long Beach, is now serving its vegan fare in Los Feliz. The local chain from owner Stephanie Morgan (“Great Food Truck Race”) serves the likes of jackfruit nachos, grilled-mushroom tacos, house-made burgers, veggie-packed bibimbap and kombucha floats. At the newest locale, Seabirds has introduced Los Feliz-exclusive dishes such as blackened-beet tacos and caponata with cashew burrata. Seabirds is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with brunch expected to follow.

2138 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 407-6034,

A photo of a spread of pastries atop a patio table. In the window beyond, rows of bread loaves sit on shelves.
Long Beach’s new Nonna Mercato has opened first as a bakery, but chef Cameron Slaugh’s plans also include future lunch and dinner service, plus an expanded grab-and-go market.
(Carolina Korman / Nonna Mercato)

Nonna Mercato

Chef Cameron Slaugh (Osteria La Buca, the Attic) has opened the first phase of his long-planned Nonna Mercato in Long Beach. The cafe offers croissants, cookies, loaves of bread, bagels, hand pies, tarts, an espresso bar and grab-and-go foods, as well as pantry staples that harken back to Slaugh’s pandemic-era Nonna at Home business. It’s expected to expand with a dine-in menu in the future. Inspired by his French and Italian heritage, Slaugh’s menu currently spans French pastry, freshly made to-go pasta, jars of house preserves, salad dressings and fresh ricotta, with lunch and dinner service to follow. Nonna Mercato is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

3722 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, (562) 595-1100,


Lotus Dim Sum Dumpling House

A new dim sum spot from a prolific restaurant group is open in Santa Monica. Lotus Dim Sum Dumpling House — from the team behind Wokcano, Big Catch Seafood House and EMC Seafood and Raw Bar — is operating daily and offering made-in-house xiao long bao, rice noodle rolls, shumai, barbecue pork buns, turnip cake and other classics in the former P.F. Chang’s space. Additional dishes, including pan-fried noodles, other wok entrées and sushi are available, as are beer, wine, sake and cocktails such as lychee martinis. Lotus Dim Sum Dumpling House is open Monday to Wednesday from noon to 9:30 p.m., Thursday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

326 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, (424) 380-5500,

The Bop

With chirashi, teriyaki, bulgogi, shumai and more, Beverly Grove’s new quick-and-casual restaurant, the Bop, serves a range of Asian rice bowls and appetizers with a focus on Japanese and Korean cuisine. The menu offers kaisen-don such as chirashi and tuna poke, as well as corn croquettes, karaage, Spam musubi, katsu plates, gyoza and garlic noodles. The Bop is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

8234 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 592-3565,