Catfe, new pop-up restaurant in L.A.: It’s exactly what it sounds like

Starting Thursday, L.A. will get its own version of a cat cafe similar to the one that popped up in New York, pictured above, earlier this year.
(Tina Susman / Los Angeles Times)

In a city where images of dogs perched under restaurant patio tables have become ubiquitous, one man is trying to stake a claim for L.A.’s cat lovers. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare yourselves for “Catfe.”

Organized by Carlos Wong, Catfe promises to cater to the cats of L.A. -- think part petting zoo, part coffee shop -- for four days in Chinatown starting Thursday. (Who doesn’t like kittens with their cappuccino?)

Wong, 31, said he was inspired to bring Asia’s ever-popular cat culture stateside after living in Tokyo last year.


Having secured the go-ahead from public health officials, the Orange County native partnered with Best Friends Animal Society, a no-kill shelter, and the Chinatown Business Improvement District, among others, to bring the Catfe concept to life. (Cats will be separated from the food prep area -- so no fur balls in your frappes.)

Earlier this year, Purina One CatCafé hosted a similar short-lived pop-up in New York City.

But Wong is hoping his quirky pop-up in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza at 727 North Broadway will find a permanent place among Los Angeles’ horde of stores, spas and eateries that cater to dogs.

Similar permanent ventures are being considered for San Francisco, Oakland and Montreal.

Wong has started a Kickstarter campaign and Facebook page to help drive public support but hopes to achieve another end: improve how people view pet adoption and care.

Feline fanatics 18 or older can take part in on-site adoptions in a setting complete with music from the band Lolita Dark, costumed kitty maids, DJs and, of course, coffee on tap.

People, Wong said, seem more comfortable interacting with each other when there are cats, drinks and snacks on hand. The combination can also be therapeutic, especially for the elderly.


“It’s not just about cats and coffee, it’s actually about a bigger message,” he said. “It’s about spreading animal awareness all around.”

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