Downtown LA’s Umamicatessen Opens with a Bang: The Rebirth of Broadway Begins

Umamicatessen soft opened on Saturday and became an instant hit

Saturday was the first day of business for Umamicatessen’s soft opening in Downtown LA. The new flagship location for Umami Burger’s latest culinary concept opened its doors at approximately 11AM for an early lunch crowd. The pent up demand for more dining options in Downtown LA could not be more apparent than the¬†continuous surge of diners that easily filled Umamicatessen’s cavernous space throughout the entire day. In fact, it just got busier and busier as the day progressed into the night.

The buzz and excitement over Umamicatessen attracted Angelenos from far and wide. In fact, even Harry Shum (of Glee) was spotted amongst the crowd of happy diners. By the time I left Umamicatessen around 10pm, there was still a waiting list. As people waited outside in front of the restaurant to be seated, the sidewalk was alive and activated with an energy that truly signaled the rebirth of Broadway. What was once empty and dead was now vibrant and exciting. The renaissance along LA’s most grand historic thoroughfare had truly begun.

More info about Umamicatessen’s designers at SO\DA, Inc.¬†

Designed by Derrick Flynn and Julianna So of SO\DA Inc., the 6,650 square foot restaurant located at 852 S Broadway was a conversion of three tenant spaces in the Historic Ninth and Broadway building. SO\DA Inc. was founded in 2009 by graduates of USC’s School of Architecture establishing a multi-disciplinary design collaborative specializing in hospitality and interior design and branding. Our most recent notable project was the design for the restaurant 1886 at The Raymond in Pasadena.

Umamicatessen captures the essence of Historic Broadway by infusing existing classical building elements and a raw open space with materials and objects the embrace the passing of time. The tartar aesthetic embodies the reuse of natural materials: rusted metal, reclaimed lumber for a 1930s distillery, found-object lighting, saddle leather seats, and 1960s plywood school chairs. A large open dining hall is surrounded by three separate kiosks where diners can watch chefs concoct their own unique menus creating an interactive marketplace. Seen from the street, a rotating ham tower serves the PIGG kiosk, a vintage wine barrel display takes center stage above The Cure, and custom light fixtures made from antique milk crates and bottles shine over Spring for Coffee. Custom reclaimed wood tables, sugar pine timber bar top, and lumber siding from a 1930s distillery were provided by District Millworks in the Downtown Arts District.

Umamicatessen menu spans several culinary concepts in addition to Umami Burger including The Cure, PIGG, and Spring for Coffee

The Cure at Umamicatessen

The counter seating at The Cure

The panels hanging from the ceiling are not only artistic but help dampen sound echoing in the cavernous space

Cocktails and more at Umamicatessen's bar section

A waiting list of diners helped activate the once empty sidewalk along this stretch of Broadway that gives us a glimpse of more to come for Broadway's future

7 responses to “Downtown LA’s Umamicatessen Opens with a Bang: The Rebirth of Broadway Begins

  1. we stopped in at 830p on saturday night of their soft opening, so there was little surprise that it was over an hour wait and they weren’t even seating anyone. the nice hostess was extremely apologetic and seemed genuinely bummed she couldn’t accommodate us. i will go back and try all things umami, pigg and donut!

  2. I saw Harry Shum just as he was walking out! Glad to see the Historic Core getting more attention and I agree: Broadway is definitely coming back.

    As for my experience, we had about a 45-minute wait. Luckily, there’s Broadway Bar and Pattern Bar just around the corner, and Golden Gopher not too far away, too. Umamicatessen’s got a full bar, too, but no need to stay there when there’s a whole area to explore!

    Everyone was pretty accommodating, and Eric (our server) explained how all the bloggers were already talking about the soft opening that it immediately got busy throughout the whole day, up to the point where a lot of the menu items became unavailable.

    I’m definitely gonna come back though. Good read!

  3. Definitely gonna try this place once i come back up to the city =]

  4. I enjoyed checking it out with you guys! I will definitely be back. This is a welcome, affordable and well-executed addition to an increasingly burgeoning Broadway corridor.

  5. went back tonight and was seated immediately at the bar. our bartender was really nice and not annoyed at all by how many questions i had. tried the umami burger and the pigg fries with brainaise. although i’m not a fan of their bun, it was a good burger and the fries were tasty! mmmm brains.

  6. Hi I am from New York, city
    I will be in Los Angeles, on April 17th i can not wait to have one of your,
    cheese burgers

  7. Walked past here around 6pm, Sunday night, and it was just as packed as the above pictures. A good amount of people in front of the building too just hanging around.

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