downtown los angeles, financial district

TASTE at FIGat7th Becoming the Hottest Lunch Spot in Downtown LA

TASTE at FIGat7th has become one of the hottest spots to grab lunch in Downtown LA

TASTE at FIGat7th has become one of the hottest spots to grab lunch in Downtown LA

I grabbed lunch today at the new Juicy Lucy gourmet burger spot located inside the still brand new upscale food court at FIGat7th called TASTE. I could not believe how busy the lunch crowd was here around 1PM. Mind you, there are only 5 eateries that have opened up so far — George’s Greek Grill, The Melt, Juicy Lucy, Indus, and Oleego — and there are already this many people coming to eat here for lunch? That shows you the amount of demand in the area and why I want more companies to move back into Downtown LA to boost our local economy. I can only imagine what the place will be like once all the other planned restaurants open, which include for now, Mendocino Farms, Flying Pig, The Pizza Studio, and Sprinkles Cupcakes with more restaurants to be announced soon in the next few months. That synergy will likely translate into a much stronger dinner crowd as well, especially when the other planned retailers open.

The current goal is to lease up the remaining spaces left at FIGat7th by this summer with most of the new stores open by the end of the year. I am told that the interest is very strong in FIGat7th and a lot of exciting new-to-Downtown LA retailers will be setting up shop that will help launch a new wave of retail development in Downtown LA, especially with Macy’s Plaza nearby expected to get its own desperately needed remodel in the not-so-distant future. Eventually, with a mix of high quality retailers and restaurants, FIGat7th will become a regional draw and destination that will benefit the entire Downtown LA-area.

Chef Paul Shoemaker’s Juicy Lucy

Lines form to eat at Juicy Lucy and their delicious gourmet burgers

Line forms to eat the delicious gourmet burgers at Juicy Lucy

Can you smell the burger patties?

Can you smell the burger patties?

There's my Juicy Lucy burger being made

There’s my Juicy Lucy burger being made

Voila! Two perfect Juicy Lucy gourmet burgers and my Sriracha cheese covered fries

Voila! Two perfect Juicy Lucy gourmet burgers and my Sriracha cheese covered fries

Oleego by Parks (Korean) BBQ

Lines form to eat at Oleego by Parks (Korean) BBQ

Line forms at Oleego by Parks (Korean) BBQ

Indus – Modern Indian by Saffron

Line forms at Indus for yummy Indian food

Line forms at Indus for yummy Indian food

The Melt SF

The Melt from SF remains popular for their famous grilled cheese sandwiches

The Melt from SF remains popular for their famous grilled cheese sandwiches

Outdoor seating with many enjoying George's Greek Grill

Outdoor seating with many enjoying George’s Greek Grill

TASTE at FIGat7th is becoming one of the hottest spots for lunch in Downtown LA

TASTE at FIGat7th is becoming one of the hottest spots for lunch in Downtown LA

13 Comments

  1. I’m happy to see the food court prospering, but….I am new to LA, and I continue to be puzzled by just how much activity is located BELOW street level. The openness of the TASTE food court (outdoor seating, big glass walls) is an improvement on all the hidden malls beneath hotels, but I still wonder why they didn’t just build the food court a street level and the Target above. For downtown to really prosper, we need the streets to be visible and buzzing. For all that, I’m glad to see the crowds!

    • John G. says

      Nathan,

      I do somewhat agree with you. This location, other than the large pylon signs on Figueroa, is setback from the street. I’m not surprised at all with the density of folks in these few eateries that just opened. With the day-time density much higher than the night-time density, daylight business will always be busy with all the workers from the employment centers located all over downtown. With so much future potential for further density, I think the developers should have built a larger structure that can accomodate more businesses and even residential units.

      • FIGat7th is the culmination of a renovation of an existing retail center. Due to the poor original design, there wasn’t much of a choice on the base design of the renovated center. However, the visibility and street level access is exponentially better now, and the true measure of the renovation won’t be realized until the retail portion opens up top; not just the food court below.

  2. I’ve tried all of them. My favorite was The Melt. The grilled cheese was perfect (as it should) and The soups there were excellent. Oleego was only okay for me. I got the shrimp and wasnt too impressed. They tasted frozen, or maybe just not fresh. I need to go back and try something else before I give it my final opinion. Juicy Lucy was very good and I would definately eat there again. my favorite burger is still from The Oaks Gourmet though. I thought that Indus was dead on. One of the best “Indian” meals I’ve had in a long while.

  3. Do keep in mind that this was an adaptation of an existing structure…not saying they would have done otherwise were it new construction, but they were limited to the structure already there in this case.

    • I thought it would have been nice to have a water feature in the middle. But honestly they did a great job refurbishing the place.

  4. Robert932 says

    This has really been a great addition to DTLA. The Melt is awesome and I just had lunch at Indus which was really really good. My concern is that your conclusion that it’ll translate into a dinner crowd seems unlikely. You should go back at night, it’s very quiet. I’m worried that the restaurants won’t stay open at night and this will end up being a 9-5 place again. Look at the people in your picture, they are all DT office drones I can’t figure out where the DT residents are going for lunch or dinner, they need to support these businesses especially in the beginning!

    • It is a really cool lunch spot indeed. You are spot on about the restaurants not staying open at night. It’s only a matter of time before they shorten their (already short) hours. The place is DEAD besides lunch hour. There are several factors that prevent residents from hanging around Taste. The biggest thing thats upset me are the prices. Me and my girlfriend ate at Juicy Lucy and paid over $30 for 2 burgers and 2 fries. No drinks. Ridiculous.

      As a comparison, we ate at Bottega Louie (another place DTLA residents dont frequent anymore) for brunch 2 days ago and paid $28 (before tip).

  5. John G. says

    @ Robert932 and Hunter K.

    Both of you make excellent points and only reinforce the idea that this place should have been better designed with more structural density if the goal is to bring in more street life and urban vitality. As far as I see it, this place is underutilized when we factor in a growing downtown population base.

    • brudy says

      It’s feast or famine here. Trying to get lunch here was a disaster, it was so crowded with office drones. But going back at night it was fairly dead. I’ve also been worried about them shortening the hours but let’s see how it goes. I really like the concept and the food that I’ve had so far, but I’m not sure about the design. The space feels too budget for the restaurants (and prices) involved. I’m not sure downtown residents (myself included) want to feel like they’re at the mall food court just because they don’t want to break the bank for a quick dinner. There’s a disconnect between the quality of the food and the atmosphere of the space here. This isn’t panda express, but it feels like it. I wish the eating area had different kinds of spaces – some booths, some open. Right now it feels a little like a cafeteria, and not in a Clifton’s kind of way.

      And I also think something needs to be done at street level. I’m sure people don’t realize what’s down there and more local promotion couldn’t hurt.

  6. Lawrence says

    I think it’s too early to say that TASTE will not attract a dinner crowd. It’s understandable that it’s not right now given that 90% of the retailers planned for Fig@7th haven’t even opened yet not to mention the Flagship style restaurants slated to join the food court on the bottom level.

    At this stage Target is the central focus of the center as it’s really the only major piece of it open. When everything else comes online there may be a more regular sustained crowd that provides a more regular stream of diners to the food court and restaurants.

    I think Brookfield did a pretty good job with the renovation considering it’s limitations. At street level you can now see all levels and easily access them, which is a huge improvement over the previous version of the mall. Looking forward to seeing the other retailers and restaurants open their doors.

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