LocoL, which observers of all things edible 'round Southern California might rightly call the most anticipated new restaurant of 2016, didn't waste time in getting the party going: It debuted just a couple of weeks into the new year.
The fresh venture from Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson is many things at once, and probably a few more things, too, beyond the restaurant's many initial strengths. It's a casual eatery set to change up how we think about fast food and how people are powered, and empowered by that, but this change doesn't translate into astronomical prices for everyday bites.
Exhibit A: You could put a fiver down for a cheeseburger, or "cheeseburg," and come away with a handful of coins. This isn't a twenty-buck affair.
Exhibit B? LocoL made an early appearance, back in 2015, on Indiegogo, raising over $128,000 of crowdsourced funds, piquing national interest, and vowing to create "(r)evolutionary fast food made with real ingredients to nourish the body, soul, and community."
What to do, where to go and what to see
Those first communities? Watts, here in LA, and the Tenderloin in San Francisco. LocoL employs dozens of Watts residents, and the same neighborhood-supporting plan is on for wherever LocoL heads next. (Early reports seem to indicate LocoL is a major movement heading far and wide across the land.)
The Watts-based LocoL, which is located at 1950 E. 103rd St., officially debuted on Monday, Jan. 18. The impressive queues, the rave online reviews, and the social media-plentiful LocoL-loving posts? They're major, as is the support of the neighborhood and LA at large (Mayor Garcetti has already stopped by).
Also, "Food & Wine" just named it the Best Restaurant of 2016. Not of January 2016, and not of LA, either. Has such an accolade ever arrived so early? Big props, LocoL, for both the prestige and the timing of it.
Beyond the bites on the menu, the flavorful 'n fresh takes on the fast food we all know like the back of a wrapper, what is LocoL's approach beyond the grill?
You can find it at the top of the restaurant's site: "We fundamentally believe in that the wholesomeness, deliciousness and affordability don't have to be mutually exclusive concepts in fast food."
The statement continues with "(w)e believe that fast food restaurants can truly empower the communities in which they underserve. We believe that giant corporations that feed most of America have degraded our communities by maximizing profits for decades. We believe that chefs should feed America, and not suits."
It's a clarion call of epic proportions for the eat-out industry, and one that's starting right here in California. For the philosophy that powers LocoL, photos of yummy foodstuffs, and what'll be happening at this wave-making innovator next, hop on your skateboard -- part of the lively logo for LocoL -- and roll this way for the 411.