Is Lemonade The Produce-Centered Counterpart To Umami Burger?

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Lemonade Photo: Lemonade

It would sure seem that way, considering Alan Jackson (the chef, of course, not the honky-tonk hat model) continues to dominate L.A.'s chef-driven, fast casual landscape with his Lemonade chain, which is opening in its eleventh location next month in Larchmont. But beyond sheer numbers and widespread growth, the two chains occupy a somewhat similar spirit, with their well-organized, clean-lined spaces, endless ambition, and a shared dedication to hand-made, ingredient-focused servings that up the ante for what is technically fast-food. In a sort of yin-yang, one pushes burgers, the other a fresh selection of seasonal, ready-made hot and cold dishes, sandwiches, soups, braises, and salads. Both have also self-shrunk themselves to smaller versions like U-Mini and Lemonade's LAX locale. And today, we learn there's another Lemonade on its way this spring.

Jackson announces that his twelfth store is due for Studio City in May, a 2,000-square-foot, indoor/outdoor space on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. So far, the chef is not taking on the rest of the country, like Umami is, but is nearly running neck-and-neck with its beefy counterpart in terms of openings (Umami currently has fourteen stores). Either way, we're proud to see these two ambitious, locally-owned chains spread from our city out to greater limits.

Lemonade, coming to 12401 Ventura Blvd. Studio City.