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Counter Culture: Charcoal Opens, Lot 44 and Showbiz Close

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Wednesday, June 02, 2010, at 02:21PM
grill Ed Fuentes

Aaron (center) with sons Johnathan (right) and Alan (left) at The Charcoal Grill on 2nd, near Main.

HOLA: Opened now for just over a month after a year of construction and build-out, The Charcoal Grill opened at 108 W. 2nd to serve up family recipes from Mexico City. “There’s no Tex-Mex here,” declares Aaron, whose menu also allows the option to customize your own burrito. You can also decide on molletes, poblanos or enchiladas with green, red, or mole sauce.

But it’s the homemade cajete flan from "grandma’s secret recipe" that will get some attention. It’s smooth and hearty, and manages to avoid mushiness. It better: the 75-year-old matriarch came up for the opening to make sure the boys were not messing around with the recipe.

The Charcoal Grill / (213) 687-8040 / Open Monday through Saturday from 11am-10pm

SATURDAY BRINGS PASTRAMI: The Yorkshire Grill will be open on Saturdays starting June 12. "We had a demand, so we are going to give it a try," says server Cindi Vellmure, who along with fans of the authentic deli nudged ownership to try Saturday hours. Located at 610 W. 6th, the authentic deli with real counter cred will be open from 7:30pm to 2pm.

Also open on Saturday, from 11am to 3pm, is the newcomer down the street, Tommy Pastrami.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Mendocino Farms at 5th and Flower is now open until 7:15pm, and Border Grill has taken over the kiosk at 601 S. Figueroa to offer quick lunch options. The kiosk was formerly an outlet for Pacific Grille, which closed in December.

SPEAKING OF CLOSING: Lot 44 Coffee came in offering premiere java, upped the ante by offering designer cupcakes and worked with curators to bring in art in the adjacent Atrium for Art Walk. Now they closed the doors this week. "I managed to stay open for two years when others around me in Downtown closed," says now-former owner Ariel Graham. "We had great loyal customers, friends, coffee and art, but ultimately, the support just wasn't there." [Previously: Touring Downtown WIFI: Lot 44]

WRAPPED-TO-GO: The windows of Showbiz Ribs are now covered with butcher paper, days after staff warned customers that owner Tony Katsaras was on the cusp of closing. [Previously: Showbiz Ribs Rubbing Downtowners the Right Way]

STILL OPEN AND THRIVING: Nickel Diner gets more press, this time by being listed in a USA Today and Zagat joint survey of best breakfast stops in the U.S. for those traveling on business.

PEARL AND PORK: Bunker Hill's First & Hope Supper Club has nabbed some attention. "It's enough to make the unwary diner feel she should go back home and break out the diamonds and pearls and elbow-length gloves for dinner at First & Hope," writes the Times of the supper club format and southern comfort menu.

'THE GOOD LIFE': Drago Centro's Vault Room opens its Summer Dinner & Movies series on Thursday, June 3. Chef Ian Gresik will pair a four course meal with Fellini's "La Dolce Vita," says the restaurant's website.

GAME STRATEGY? Phoenix Coach Alvin Gentry was boxed out by deep fried artichokes during Game 5 between the Suns and Lakers, according to tweets from his daughter. Reporting said the dish was from a restaurant somewhere in or around Downtown L.A. Gentry isn't saying where.

TO BE READ DURING YOUR NEXT LUNCH: Los Angeles Magazine hits the street with "A Delicious Guide to Lunch in LA" and Downtown is represented well. Sturdy regulars like Philippe's share the list with spots like Water Grill, Ciudad, and of course, food trucks.

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