downtown los angeles, historic core

New Vegan Restaurant, Dr J’s Vibrant Cafe, Coming to Old Bank District in Downtown LA

A new vegan restaurant with Asian and American fusion will be opening near 4th and Main in the late summer of 2013

A new vegan Asian and American fusion restaurant will be opening near 4th and Main in the late summer of 2013

The Medallion Apartments at 4th and Main in the Old Bank District is developing into quite the healthy food spot as the mixed-use project finally fills up all the remaining commercial spaces along Main Street after being completed since summer of 2010. First it was Simply Salad that got the ball rolling early last year (opening soon), then Sushi Zo coming soon was announced last month, and now exciting news comes for vegan and vegetarian fans as the last remaining space along Main St was leased to Dr. J’s Vibrant Cafe.

Dr. J’s Vibrant Cafe will offer a wide range of tasty vegan options with “delicious recipes” derived from an Asian and American fusion. The owner, Charles Tien, explained to me the concept behind his new restaurant, which centers a lot on his mother, including the restaurant’s namesake. Dr. “J” is short for Juliet Tien who was born in Taiwan and received her doctorate from UCSF. She has been an advocate for living a “vibrant” lifestyle through healthy eating. As a result of her childhood being bogged down by many ailments and allergies, eating healthy allowed her to overcome those “health challenges,” which is the inspiration for their new restaurant.

The vegan menu will focus on organic ingredients adding no preservatives with a lot of veggies and soy and will exclude the use of dairy, yeast, wheat, etc. There will also be a large bakery selection and a mini market that will offer grab-and-go meals. At 2,700 square feet, the kitchen will take up an impressive chunk of real estate — an entire half of the restaurant space! Even so, the restaurant will still have capacity for 150 diners with both indoor and outdoor patio seating. Charles tells me that the interior will have a “comfortable ambiance using reclaimed wood panels and earth tones” and will be a place that downtown residents “can come and just chill like at Urth Caffe.”

Having just signed the lease in December 2012 and securing permits for construction, the current goal is to have Dr. J’s Vibrant Cafe open by late summer of 2013.

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    • Briran Huff says

      Completely agree! I love all the new top-notch places in the neighborhood – Baco, Gorbals, Parish, Lazy Ox – but they are so meat-heavy. We need an excellent vegan option.

      • brudy says

        As a vegetarian I was pretty surprised at how veg-friendly Baco is actually. I love that place.

  1. brudy says

    This is seriously awesome and now officially the most exciting up and coming downtown food thing for me.

  2. Steph says

    Walked by Simply Salad today (and every day on my way to/from work). It hasn’t opened yet. Patiently waiting… Krav Maga is though.

  3. Leah Marie Murphy says

    Very exciting news!!!! I will be there for the grand opening!!

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