Kogi BBQ truck founder to open third restaurant


Roy Choi, the creator of the popular Kogi BBQ truck, is planning to open his third brick-and-mortar restaurant in Los Angeles on Friday.

The new concept in the city’s Venice Beach neighborhood is called Sunny Spot and will feature Choi’s take on West Indian, African and Caribbean cuisines.

Choi made national headlines several years ago with his Kogi BBQ trucks just as Los Angeles’ gourmet food-truck trend was taking off. In addition to the truck business, Choi opened his first brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2010 called Chego, featuring eclectic rice bowls with “swagger.”

His second restaurant, A-Frame, is a partnership with bar and restaurant owner David Reiss, and has a more upscale menu and cocktail program than his other eateries.

Known for its shareable plates and optional utensils, A-Frame opened in late 2010 and is located in a former IHOP location, when that brand was known for its A-frame units.

Sunny Spot is another partnership between Choi and Reiss, who also owns the Los Angeles-area bars the Alibi Room, Playa Cantina and the Brig.

The new concept is the largest of Choi’s restaurants, with 100 to 150 seats, said Maya Flanary, the new concept’s hostess.

Divided into different rooms, Sunny Spot’s “Rum Den” is designated for reservation-recommended, sit-down dining.

The other areas, a colorful section called the Candy Room and the patio, are walk-in only with more fluid seating at tables or along the long “Burlap Bar,” Flanary said.

The menu features dishes that are typical of Choi’s bold style, such as sugar-cane-fried pigs feet with chili vinegar; slow-roasted whole goat with pickled mango; broiled hamachi collar with garlic thyme butter, lime and banana chili glaze; and yucca fries.

Desserts include house-made caramels with Maldon sea salt and toasted cashews, as well as a version of the classic Ding Dong pastry.

Choi will serve as Sunny Spot’s executive chef, while Chris Houlihan will be chef de cuisine. Houlihan was with the restaurant in its previous ownership as Beechwood.

Brian Butler is developing Sunny Spot’s bar program. He has worked for Reiss at his Alibi Room bar, as well as at A-Frame.

Sunny Spot is scheduled to open for dinner seven nights a week, but it may add brunch service in the future, Flanary said.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout