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Finally some Alpaca Stew: Mo-Chica Peruvian restaurant opens on 7th Street

By Andrew Lopez
Published: Friday, June 01, 2012, at 09:33AM
Andrew Lopez

Mo-Chica, a modern Peruvian restaurant, opened Wednesday in Downtown.

Mo-Chica, a restaurant serving family-style "modern interpretations of traditional Peruvian comfort food," has moved from South L.A. to a Downtown space that embodies Chef Ricardo Zarate's original vision of Mo-chica.

Manager Jorge Espana believes the new location at 514 W. 7th Street is better than their last because its not tied down to permit restrictions. The Downtown locale can stay open until midnight and they were able to get a liquor license, he said.

After its successful grand opening Wednesday, hostess Victoria Lane expects Friday and Saturday nights to be even more busy. During Mo-Chica's first day about 100 restaurant-goers were served for lunch and 160 for dinner, Lane said.

The weekend might bring up to 300 diners a night. "It's going to be fun," Lane said.

Mo-Chica currently serves 29 menu items, a number that wouldn't have been very practical with their previous staff of about 12 people, Espana said. With 42 employees now on staff, he said 80 percent of the items are new and they can now cater if needed.

So far there are no clear favorite dishes, but Espana said that everyone is exploring the whole menu trying to figure out what they like best.

Some specialty items include Seco De Cordero, lamb shank, canario beans and cilantro beer sauce; and the always popular Alpaca Stew.

"People rave about it in L.A.," Espana said. "No one is doing alpaca in L.A. at all."

The clientele so far has been a mix of loyal customers from their previous locations and locals passing by and giving it a try, Lane said.

With an intimate but relaxed vibe, Espana said their Downtown location is perfect for Mo-Chica.


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