Keeping it LocoL, Watts
South LA has been making a slow and steady come back in recent years particularly the City of Watts. Watts has a history of violence, gangs and underemployment that spans over 50 years. The city like it's residents are strong, resilient and more than meets the eye..as they say in Watts "you talk to us, we talk to you"--that's real talk right their.
I have been fortunate to work with families and residents in South LA for almost five years (my day job) and they are the best advocates for change in their communities. I was so excited to hear in January that Roy Choi had made plans to bring the first healthy fast-food restaurant to Watts.
The menu at LocoL fulfills the promise that Choi had made to 2015 Indiegogo backers in a campaign that raised more than $125,000 and, before that, a talk that Patterson (chef of San Francisco’s Coi) gave at the 2014 MAD Symposium where he aspired to open a concept that had the power to help impoverished communities by offering healthful, affordable food. At LocoL there are $4 cheeseburgers, topped with scallion relish and tangy orange sauce, $3 chicken nuggets, $6 bowls of chili smothered with crushed crackers and cheese, $1 cups of braised greens or beef-onion gravy, and $2 handheld quesadillas called “foldies,” with fillings such as carnitas and BBQ turkey.
No idea why it took me so long to get my butt into LocoL, but it was worth the wait. The space is filled with natural light, has a great outdoor seating space and the inside is chill and relaxed with free WiFi.
I ordered two things 1) The LocoL Cheeseburger the meat is fresh and so are the buns lots of cheese with grilled onions, great flavor. FYI the sizes are smaller than you might be used to at other burger places, so if your starving get two.
I opted to add a salad with the burger and ordered the Chicken and Cheese salad off the secret menu...it's not really that secret though it's not online, you can see and order from the menu in the restaurant.
Okay so back to the salad. It was pretty good too...the batter for the chicken seemed a little heavy taking away from the flavor, but overall it was good and fresh. I finished my lunch and as I sat their reading my work e-mails I remember feeling so proud that there was this space where people could go and grab lunch, talk, check e-mail, etc. on their lunch break in their city. It was really cool to see. I really hope that other entrepreneurs/businesses come to South LA with young, fresh ideas with an eye on the future that will revolutionize these areas. Just like Harlem, NYC, Southie in Boston, the Waterfront in Washington, D.C., SLA is ready for revival and so are it's residents.