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.