When you’re living in a food-fanatic city like LA, it’s easy to create little foodies, but sometimes you need food fast.  And we all know fast food isn’t good food.  Until Roy Choi & Daniel Patterson started a “food revolution” at LocoL in Watts. They aim to reinvent fast food and bring wholesome, local and affordable food to the neighborhoods that need it most. You say you want a revolution?  Bring the kids down to this brand new spot to have a front seat to food history being made.

kitchenlocolphoto: LeTania Kirkland

The New Fast Food
So long, clown and king fronted food chains.  Our way is healthy, fast and easy, and LocoL makes it happen.  The restaurant is the brainchild of LA chef Choi and SF chef Patterson after they met at the 2013 MAD conference in Copenhagen. Choi gave a speech about food insecurity and the two chefs decided then and there to take action and use their influence to make positive change. Watts is just one LA neighborhood deemed a ‘food desert,’ meaning residents have little access to a supermarket or large grocery store. For most, this also means they have little direct access to fresh and healthy food. LocoL is an attempt to change that.

furniturephoto: LeTania Kirkland

Space for All
Great for the community, but also worth a visit for all Angelenos!  Besides the food, the best part of LocoL is the set up and the lack of traditional furniture. With large, movable blocks that serve as tables and chairs, the place kind of screams playground. Don’t be shy: shake it up and move things around to make the perfect space for your family and maybe even share a seat with your neighbor. Kids are welcome to walk on the furniture. There is no glass in the windows or doors, just screens, that make everyone feel right at home. On nice days, head out to the back patio and take in some sun. And there are custom coloring books for the kids complete with LocoL’s own mascots while waiting for food.  But since the concept is all about fast, you won’t have long to wait!

burgerphoto: LeTania Kirkland

So, the Food
LocoL serves up brekkie, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. As expected, Choi and Patterson have taken a fun and delicious twist on fast food favorites. Choose from a selection of $4 “Burgs” made from beef, barbecue turkey, fried chicken or veggie. “Foldies” are something like taco meets quesadilla with a variety of fillings to please any palate. There are also a loads of bowls with options like a tofu and veggie stew or a “messy” beef chili. Don’t forget the sides or “Yotchays” like rice, stewed greens, spicy corn chips and beef and onion gravy with flatbread. And “Crunchies” in the form of chicken or veggie nugs, for littles that will only eat nuggets.

drinkslocolphoto: LeTania Kirkland

For breakfast anytime, LocoL has you covered with favorites like eggs in a hole, french toast holes and yogurt and granola. This is the perfect spot to bring the family and make it family style. Get a little bit of everything and share. Don’t forget to have a sweet ending. A fast food jaunt wouldn’t be complete without a a bowl of soft serve ice cream sundaes. If it’s a different kind of pick-me-up you need, LocoL is also serving up delicious hot and iced coffee (which comes from a collaboration with the roasters at Blue Bottle—yum!).

wattstowersphoto: Isabelle Acatauassu Alves Almeida via Flickr

An Added Bonus: A Visit to the Watts Towers
As if the great food and good energy weren’t enough, you can also make a complete day of your visit by paying homage to the Watts Towers, one of the quintessential LA experiences. Take a tour (Thursday-Sunday), see the towers from the inside and and learn about Simon Rodia and how he single-handedly built the towers over 34 years. Every young (and not so young) Angeleno should see the towers at least once. While you’re there be sure to take a peek inside the Watts Tower Art Center, which features rotating exhibitions. Check the website for upcoming events like the Annual Day of the Drum and Jazz Festivals.

polaroidslocolphoto: LeTania Kirkland

LocoL
1950 E. 102rd St.
South Central LA
Online: welocol.com

What’s your favorite non-guilty pleasure fast food joint?  Let us know in the comments!

—LeTania Kirkland