So, about that new Roy Choi restaurant…

Aloha, y’all — some of you may have heard about that “new Roy Choi restaurant.”  And anyone who’s asked me or was pushy about it (y’all know who you are!), I said there was no Roy Choi restaurant.  Which, technically, is true: it’s a Dave Reiss restaurant, Papi Chulo’s created the menu and key members of our Kogi/Chego/Alibi team are executing his vision.  The food will be a little fancier than what you’re used to from us, by just a smidge — but it’s still got the heart and soul of Chef Roy’s imagination, humor and urge to rep LA flavors to the fullest.

spaghetti on the wall... <-- (YEAH, I'm using ellipses!)

Okay, I’ll stop talking now, since y’all probably want to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.  Enjoy it, for it’s probably one of the very few times I’ve been able to nudge Papi Chulo from his hiding place to address something publicly.

Hi Everyone,
Uhm, I’m writing this because you may have heard that there is a restaurant called A-Frame opening in Culver City.
I swear I haven’t said a word.

But I am writing this letter because I really think you will enjoy the place.

I met Dave Reiss about 2 years ago on the streets of the UCLA co-op housing up on Landfair and Ophir.
I believe it was the 5th or 6th day Kogi was on the streets.

That was a crazy night.

Dave was a guy whose eyes widened when he took that first bite.

Ever since then we have been friends.

Almost like all of you back in 2008 and early 2009.

I remember you.

I remember seeing your faces and feeling your vibe out there in the mist of the dark night.

We all shared a moment together.

Kogi got big, you saw us on the news, I started saying all kinds of trippy stuff because you all pushed me to another place.

Some have gone on to hate on Kogi.

People say they don’t understand Chego.

But I saw you!

I know we shared that moment.

Don’t believe the hype about Kogi.

We are a family of geeks, soldiers, misfits, and immigrants that cook the food we like to eat.

You never know when things are going to happen.

The moment I stopped being a chef is when you all started eating the food I was cooking.

Ever since I met the Kogi familia, ever since I met you, ever since I met Dave, ever since I stubbed my toe on this rock things done changed.

You ever get those moments in life where something catches your eye or a smell hooks your nose or a melody invades your soul and you just start creating?  You just start throwing spaghetti on the wall?

Well, that is happening to me at light speed 24 hours a day, 8 days a week.

I don’t know when it will end or if it will shift, so enter A-Frame.

A-Frame is an amazing space.

It is an old I-Hop that turned into a lazy Chicano diner called Cora’s that has been gutted and shown naked with the deft hand of my Jamaican brother Sean from Knibb and his team in Venice.

Imagine if Jupiter had a country like Sweden.

The room is so warm yet clean.

It feels like you are inside a skateboard ramp.

Dave used to approach me all the time about opening a restaurant.

We collaborated on Alibi Room, he gave us a home at The Brig.

Many of you don’t know me but I am not a businessman.

I’m just an old-time hotel chef that came up through the ranks.

I love to cook.

I found cooking professionally at a point in my life when things were dark.

Now I can’t wipe the smile off my face.

This is going to be a modern picnic.

The concept was driven by the feeling I used to get when I’d go to Redondo Beach with my parents and crack crabs on the pier.

I want you to have that feeling.  I want you to feel that appetite.

I am not really the chef at this restaurant.

Think of me as Silent Bob.

Jonas Curameng and Beth Kellerhals will strap on the boots for this one. Jonas was our sous chef at Kogi and Chego.
He took it all from me and this is our gift to him. He is ready to knock your socks off. Beth was a Kogi follower that told me she gives cavities.

Since that day in downtown when I met her we created the tres leches, spicy candy bar, rock yer road, crazy pies, ice cream sandwiches and so much more.

Dude, you all are gonna flip at what we have in store for your sweet tooth.

A-Frame is a restaurant and bar that will have killer drinks by Brian Butler.

I want you to eat with your hands.

Lick your fingers, reach across the table, talk with your mouth full, open your soul and we shall feed you.

This is a solo project for me, kind of like a mix tape.

I’m gonna be pretty quiet other than this letter and just be in the kitchen with my head down and searching for flavors.

Jonas is the chef. Beth is the pastry chef. Dave is the owner. Brian will get you faded. I’m the DJ on this track.

And if you’re wondering, Kogi and Chego are as strong as ever.

That is my family.

As soon as A-Frame gets it’s sea legs I got some crazy ideas for Kogi and Chego for 2011.

I hope you like A-Frame.

Our main item will be a brined natural chicken slow rotisseried then fried so that the skin crackles like candy.

Now, how can you eat that with a fork?
Roy Choi
October 2010
ALSO — I thought it wouldn’t be right to end it without a sneak peek at the A-frame menu.  YAY for iPhones!!  Even when they freak out on you!!! Everything’s still a work in progress, but it’s just about there.  (I know.  I love you, too.)

Peruvian salsa verde

fresh furikake kettle corn

hot bread and butta -- isn't it CUTE??

twice baked potato

curry lemongrass clam chowder -- and the spices are ground fresh every morning!


air-dried hoisin chili ribs

Korean bbq lambchop

AND THERE’S MORE!  Just, I feel like this is getting really long!  (And I’ve been trying to curb my blog posts to a minimum. –__–;;)

Love and tacos,


P.S. I really liked this video by Chris Bagnall for The History Channel!  I normally don’t post videos on us, because I think that that’s just downright shameless, promoting your own business on your website, BUT!!! IT’S A REALLY GREAT VIDEO!  And not just because it’s about us!  Visually, it’s more about LA than it is about Kogi, which is what I really love about it.  ^___^

LA – KOGI TACO TRUCK from Christopher Bagnall on Vimeo.


15 Responses to So, about that new Roy Choi restaurant…

  1. Sleepyhead, orginalis says:

    I love your food, did from the start, am at Chego whenever it rains, or shines and I’m in LA, cause I love the food. that’s the whole story there.
    Very excited about this because it means:
    A) more food
    2) Different more food
    c-) more Chef Roy musings, which I seriously dig.

    Can’t wait!
    Oh, is Sean a brother of Jason Knibb? Just wondering, great chef.
    It’s all about the food!

  2. Matt Lacsun says:

    the food looks dope!!
    looking forward to seeing where this all goes!!

  3. papi says:

    Yes, Sean and Jason are brothers.
    I hear nothing but great things about Chef Jason Knibb.
    Maybe a guest chef appearance down the road?
    Dago meets LA!


  4. Big E in OC says:

    Thats whats up, congrats on the new spot.

  5. sleepyhead says:

    The grapevine says a pre-Thanksgiving opening? That would be rad…

    I once lived inside a Swedish skateboard ramp, but I’ll save that story for a rainy day..and yes Chef Jason Knibb
    knows his curds from his way..and LA/SD mashup, with gravy, would be a wonderful thing indeed.
    Looking most definitely forward to A-Frame – great spot
    as well!

  6. Alice Shin says:

    THE original Sleepyhead — ahahaha. When I first started reading, I thought you were constructing a limerick!
    Matt — me too!

    Papi — I talk to you everyday. ^___^

    Big E — I tried all the fried stuff, and IT’S ALL SO GOOD!!! Maybe one day we can bring the OC fam to A-Frame. I think Renee would like it a lot!

    Sleepyhead again — it’s a rainy day, my friend. It’s a rainy day…

  7. zak means says:

    Big fan here of all things Roy.
    Congrats on the new digs & menu! I want pix of those amazing sounding desserts!!! Yummmz.
    PLZ put me on ur email list. Is there an opening night for friends/family?

  8. Just Wondering says:

    What’s the price range for the dishes??

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  10. JennSul says:

    I can’t wait to try this place tonight with my friends! The food sounds and looks delish! I’m a fan of Kogi, Alibi, and Chego so I hope I’m a fan of A-Frame too.


  11. legfellasleepinclasshead says:


    Went by A-frame the other day just to take a gander – dang, what Mr. Knibb and co. have done to that
    spot is amazing – looks beautiful, unique, hospitable
    and I can’t wait for the grand opening!

    Any downlow or updates?
    I’ll be camping out in the parking lot until then..

  12. Genelle says:

    I’ll be flying in from SF on Thursday ‘specially. what are the hours for A-Frame?

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  15. BOISE says:

    “ROY CHOI,” hehe that rhymes. hehehe

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