Famed Chef Roy Choi Opens New Restaurant in Watts

Situated a block from Jordan Downs Public Housing development in the heart of Watts, a new restaurant hopes to bring people together through healthy and affordable dining options. Chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson opened LocoL, a restaurant aimed at providing good and reasonably-priced fast food in South LA. Choi and Patterson intend to expand their affordable and quality fast food restaurant concept to other low-income communities across the country.

“I like having LocoL here because it brings new people out here. For employment, for opportunities…. I was the first person they interviewed. I knew when I went to the interview I wanted to work here because of the vibe and how I know everybody from around here. I wanted to bring my kids here today to show them where I work,” said Trisha Coleman, a resident of HACLA’s Jordan Downs Housing Development As she danced in the outdoor patio, Trisha exclaimed that LocoL paid a livable wage and provided benefits.

Like Trisha, local residents and employees are among those who have anticipated the opening of the restaurant in South LA. Alongside them, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) and City Council Member Joe Buscaino were present at the opening of LocoL, a fast food restaurant aimed to provide affordable and good quality fast food that could have community impact.  During the LocoL - Revolutionary Fast Food campaign, Choi and Patterson shared, “We fundamentally believe that wholesomeness, deliciousness and affordability don't have to be mutually exclusive concepts in fast food. We believe that fast food restaurants can truly empower the communities they currently underserve.”

Councilmember Buscaino expressed that LocoL is a great opportunity to provide healthy alternative fast food options as well as represents the economic development in Watts.

“To see residents from our public housing community be employed here reflects HACLA’s vision to be a part of the development around where people live,” said HACLA President and CEO Douglas Guthrie.

After finishing her lunch, Jordan Downs Resident Advisory Committee President Amada Valle was enthusiastic about LocoL. She believes that it is the food that will bring people to LocoL and the employment of residents of Watts that will keep people coming back and the restaurant in the community. 

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