The rumors we helped to spread back in February turn out to be true. Roy Choi's Chego, which closed for renovations in January, is ditching Palms for Chinatown, leaving the Westside bereft of one of its most well-conceived cheap eats options. Nearly two years ago, we sensed an incredible restaurant revolution emerging in Palms, based primarily on the triumvirate of Chego, N/Naka, and Scoops, three dedicated food businesses satisfying unique cravings on Overland Avenue. With Chego planning a final bash to say goodbye to the neighborhood on Saturday, we asked one of the remaining restaurants in this promising trio how they felt to see Choi leaving the street.
Matt Kang, an L.A. food writer and the owner of Scoops Westside, tells Grub Street, "I'm pretty disappointed that Chego is closing. I know that a lot of it wasn't in their control and had to do more with the physical location they were in."
Indeed, the Kogi blog spelled out the changes yesterday, telling fans, "We couldnt reach an agreement with our landlord at Overland."
Recalling our own predictions about the Avenue, Kang continues, "I really felt like the neighborhood was going to take off, and over the two-plus years we've been in business, it's been very helpful to have Chego nearby Scoops Westside. I know that many of our customers specifically came to Palms to enjoy both places."
Still, the Scoops owner gives Palms restaurant-goers reasons to stay hopeful, citing the rise of sports bar The Garage on Motor, the fancy new outpost of Beard Papa off Sepulveda, and the re-conceptualizing of C Cafe. Kang also sees new businesses, including one restaurant on Overland, on the rise and reminds us, "It's sort of a secret that three of the best sushi restaurants in the country reside in Palms: Yamakase, N/Naka, and Sushi Zo, with Hiko Sushi just a stone's throw away."
So while Overland and its immediate neighbors may feel the impact of a hole left by Chego, Palms on the whole still packs a strong, under-the-radar dining scene. And even those missing Chego may not have to pine for Choi's rice bowls for long. The Kogi blog teases that, "Weve figured out a way to still serve you...on the West Side. But more on that later."
Until then, the business is encouraging fans to come on Saturday "with your boomboxes and lawn chairs, your coolers and your friends so that we can show you how much we love and appreciate you guys who have stuck by us through rain and shine, pothole-gutted parking spaces and the occasionally questionable music selection."