How does a growing boutique restaurant chain honor the neighborhoods in which it lands?
There are, of course, many solid ways to connect on a tightly local level, from naming dishes after interesting neighbors to remembering the orders of regulars the moment they walk in the door.
Lemonade, the cafeteria-style eateries that serve up SoCally comfort eats -- think Truffle Short Rib Sliders and Buttermilk Baked Chicken -- is showing the regional pride by revealing a new dish for each LA neighborhood that's home to one of its restaurants.
And we don't mean "new dish" as in a recently introduced entree or appetizer; we mean the dish itself. LA-based designer Ilan Dei, who gave the Lemonades their distinctively citrus-cheery appearances, developed a series of high-fired stoneware plates for the company.
Each plate bears an iconic or distinctive sight or symbol which represents Lemonade's LA neighborhood.
Can you buy them? Yes: The plates will be officially unveiled when the newest Lemonade opens on Sawtelle Boulevard on April 8 and then available in the various neighborhood Lemonades to which they're tied, thematically.
How much are they? Twenty six bucks each or a collector's set -- that contains two plates -- for forty four dollars.
What places and buildings do they depict? The Rose Bowl gets a plate, as does Griffith Observatory. Where can you get the Walt Disney Concert Hall plate? At the Downtown Lemonade location, of course; the Griffith Observatory will be for sale at the Toluca Lake restaurant, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
There are twenty four limited edition plates in all.
Chef Alan Jackson founded the quirky cafeteria chainery in 2008. "When we open a new Lemonade location we are aware of how the restaurant will fit in with the character and nuances of that specific community," he says. The high-style plates are "a way to celebrate the neighborhood."
So, Lemonadeans and/or lovers of LA-inspired dishware: Will you use these to eat with? Or will they go on a wall? And why are plates more rarely hung on walls nowadays, compared to a few decades back? Perhaps this local-nice line can help bring that elegant decorative choice back to the dens and living rooms of Los Angeles.