We’re not sure if you’ve heard, but LA is in the midst of a renaissance. But you won’t find any lame ceiling paintings or anatomically lacking sculptures. What we’re witnessing is something much greater than all that. It’s a new dawn, a complete rebirth. It’s the beginning of a better, more delicious epoch. Behold! The Golden Age of Pop-Ups!
[INSERT GRAVE-SHAKING AWE AND HARP SOLOS HERE]
Sorry... we haven’t spoken to another human being in five months. Where were we? Oh yeah, pop-ups!
From dazzling boxes of sushi to Caribbean roti, some of the best (and most exciting) dishes in the city right now aren’t being made in restaurant kitchens - they’re coming from backyard BBQs, coffee shops, and loan office parking lots. But more on that later. Without further ado, here are the 27 great LA pop-ups you should know about.
Not only do you get to eat delicious Indian food at Adda, The Hangout, you’re supporting a great cause, too, as a portion of all proceeds are donated to charities like No Kid Hungry and the LA Food Bank. Right now, the menu is only two dishes - kadai chicken served in a thick gravy with onions and bell peppers, and Punjabi chole (garbanzo beans cooked in onions and tomato sauce) - plus jeera rice that comes included on the side. All ordering is done through their Instagram, and pick-up occurs after 5pm on Wednesdays.
Aliza J. Sokolow
LA food photographer and stylist Aliza J. Sokolow started baking her own challah and cookies - and selling them to the masses - in late spring. All ordering is done through her website, with five different pick-up locations throughout the city, ranging from Santa Monica to Echo Park to Encino. She’s also donating a portion of all proceeds to local charities.
Here’s how it works: Once a week, the homestyle Vietnamese pop-up drops a new menu on Instagram - most recently, they’ve featured dishes like cơm gà (poached chicken served over burnt star anise rice) and thịt kho, or caramel-braised pork belly. Once that goes live, you have approximately one hour to drop everything (and we mean everything) and head to their link in bio to place an order. Be warned - pre-orders tend to sell out quick.
The menu at this Jamaican fusion pop-up is constantly changing, but what stays consistent is their innovative take on Caribbean cooking. Well, that and their incredible graphic design skills. Past menus have included burritos made with oxtail, jerk chicken served over rice, and “mosschata,” an Irish moss horchata sweetened with agave nectar. The menu is posted every Friday at 9am for preorders — so make sure you set an alarm (or seven), then text your order to (323) 300-4054.
Chef Luh Putu Suarniti harnesses the unique flavors of Bali at this Downtown pop-up. Think fragrant plates of nasi jinggo, a classic dish made with chicken, yellow rice, and coconut milk, or Balinese pork ribs served with sambal matah. Pre-orders for Bali Mesari open every Saturday at 5pm, DM their Instagram to place one.
This Caribbean pop-up specializes in one thing, and one thing only - Bajan roti. Pockets of thick, flaky dough are stuffed with fillings like curry-braised oxtail and peppers, as well as sweeter options, like curried yams and mangoes. Lurk their Instagram for the next pick-up date, then DM to order. And maybe bring a friend? Orders are capped at eight patties/person.
Securing an order here might require a bit of planning (pick-ups only happen twice a month, on Tuesdays), but in a city with shockingly few Burmese options, breaking out your calendar app just might be worth it. The Southeast Asian pop-up brings you dishes like fermented tea leaves, catfish soup, and vegan khao swè, a traditional curried stew made with thick noodles. But what really makes the food special here are the details — our Editorial Operations Coordinator, Anikah Shaokat, recently ate here and had this to say:
“Everything at Burmese, Please! is rave-worthy. But what really made the entire meal memorable were the accoutrements. Namely the Ngapi Kyaw, a salty, umami-rich fermented shrimp powder. This is a staple in Southern Burmese cooking (very close to where I grew up), where seafood isn’t just food, but a way of life.”
So… yeah. It’s probably time to fire up the Google Calendar.
Turns out, there are very few greater joys in quarantine than watching a breakfast sandwich being lowered in a bucket from a fourth-floor fire escape - particularly when the sandwich tastes as good as the one from Calabama. This Sunday-only pop-up operates out of an East Hollywood apartment, where ordering is done via their Instagram and pick-up comes in the form of a giant red bucket that’s lowered into your awaiting arms. The sandwich itself is essentially a giant breakfast grilled cheese, and yes, it’s even better than it sounds. Be sure to grab a bottle of their (literally) home-made hot sauce, too.
Home to some of our favorite new sandwiches in LA, Carla Cafe currently pops-up every few days inside Bootsy Bellows in West Hollywood. They post all the ordering details on their Instagram so definitely give them a follow and, uh, wait? (we’re not sure why they’re private, either). Stay diligent, though - they sell out quickly. They only make one kind of sandwich each day and it always changes, but just know that whether you get the garlic aioli chicken, tuna chop, or pesto chicken, it’s going to be incredible.
Located inside a garage in Echo Park/Historic Filipinotown, Chainsaw started as an underground dinner party series in 2019 run by the former pastry chef at Here’s Looking At You (RIP) and a sous chef at Providence. During quarantine, it’s become a contactless pop-up selling homemade pies, ice cream, and a grilled pork sandwich that needs to be put on your priority list immediately. Available only on Sundays as a part of their $30 “Chainsaw Lunchbox,” this hefty sandwich comes topped with smoked potatoes, shredded lettuce, black butter, tomatoes, garlic mayo, and grilled pork shoulder we’re confident would be a star dish on any restaurant menu in town.
For seven years, Pablo Osorio and Danielle Bell staged intimate dinner parties across the U.S. Now, they’ve launched a weekly delivery service, featuring an always-changing menu of dishes inspired by Osorio’s native Peru, and desserts inspired by Bell’s time in the South. That means gravy-smothered quail, vegan causa (Peruvian potato casserole), and caramel pound cake - delivered right to your door. For ordering info and more, check out their website.
A new pop-up in Downtown LA, Dough Daddy makes incredible Detroit-style pizzas and (presumably not-Detroit-style) cocktails. And if you’re wondering what, exactly, a Detroit-style pizza is: It’s a thick, rectangular pie with Wisconsin brick cheese melted on top, and then topped with tomato sauce. The pies are absolutely tremendous here - crunchy, doughy, and chewy all at the same time - and the accompanying cocktails taste like they came from your favorite tiki bar. Order through their Instagram, but be warned: Pick-up slots disappear faster than the Lions’ playoff chances. For more info, check their Instagram.
Golden Rice Co.
A Persian pop-up making perfectly crisp, Saffron-studded tahchin - rice cakes popular in Iranian cuisine - Golden Rice Co. does Sunday pick-ups and deliveries, and they sell out fast (like, they’re currently taking orders for September 6th). To see their full menu, which includes other Persian favorites like Mast (a refreshing dip made with yogurt, cucumbers, and dill), or to place an order in while you still can, check out their Instagram.
Gold Land BBQ sets up shop every Sunday in the back parking lot of Menotti’s Coffee Stop in Culver City West. Running from 11am-3pm, expect a true neighborhood barbecue feel, complete with a giant grilling pit, music on the loudspeaker, blankets and chairs strewn about, and some of the best Santa Maria-style BBQ in LA. The ribs and linguica sausage are standouts. You can pre-order through their website.
From neatly packed sashimi bentos to dazzling boxes of uni, this Silver Lake sushi pop-up is utterly obsessed with perfection - but in the best way possible, kind of like Sugarfish on Adderall. Elaborate chirashi dons are served in ceramic bowls (which can be purchased for $5) and are filled with expertly cut pieces of bluefin tuna, unagi, sea bream, and ikura. Plus they give you a little can of yuzu soda with every meal, which is just... nice? DM their Instagram to pre-order.
This Filipino pop-up is run by Lord Maynard Llera, a former sous chef at Bestia, and operates entirely out of his house in La Canada-Flintridge. There isn’t a set ordering schedule at the moment, but you’ll get all the menu, payment, and pick-up location details by following @kuyalord_la on Instagram. So go ahead and do that right now, because this food is simply too special to miss. The pancit chami is a revelation.
Neighborhood BBQ is run by Erik Piedrahita, the former executive sous chef of Bon Temps (RIP), and specializes in giant family-style BBQ kits. The exact menu changes weekly, but you can expect a few different salads, mac and cheese, cornbread, and a Santa Maria-style protein of some sort - all packaged together for about $90. Orders open Monday at 10am via their website and pick-ups happen Saturday at 6pm in Griffith Park.
Roll cakes decorated with flowers. Lotus rice that’s been stained pink. And jelly mooncakes in the shape of corn on the cob? At Nünchi, the lines between art and food aren’t just blurred — they cease to exist. Equal parts Korean pop-up, dessert catering, and vaporwave dreamscape, everything here seems too pretty to eat — but maybe that’s the point? DM their Instagram to pre-order.
Paratta is an Arts District pop-up specializing in modern Desi (South Asian) street food. Think flaky lachha paratha rolls, chicken tikka samosas, and wagyu beef kabab platters. They’re currently open Wednesday-Sunday and ordering is available online and through most major delivery apps. Pick-up is located at Crafted Kitchen, at 672 S. Santa Fe Ave. in the Arts District.
Perilla is a Korean pop-up where chef Jihee Kim cooks a rotating menu of banchan out of her tiny kitchen in Koreatown. She takes inspiration from whatever she sees at the farmer’s market that week, which means seasonal dishes like corn crab salad with tomatoes, fermented carrot in ginger and mandarin zest, and green beans in creamy garlic confit. For menu and information, check out her Instagram.
This Southern-style BBQ truck is serving pit-smoked perfection, in the form of hot links, pulled pork, and, their house speciality - tender, juicy rib tips covered in a custom Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce (a.k.a. Mark Zuckerberg’s favorite meat accompaniment). And although they might operate out of a loan office parking lot, when the meat looks this good, there’s no way in hell you’ll be leaving alone. Yes, we went to college. And yes, we’re still paying off those loans - maybe with Ribtown, we’ll kill two birds with one stone? Open Friday through Saturday, pre-order through their website.
This dessert pop-up has only been around since the end of May, but it’s already managed to hold cake auctions in honor and raise funds for Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain, participate in the Pies For Justice bake sale, and educate their followers on critical radical justice issues. All of this, while continuing to make one of the best treats in town - baked in a crisp, golden crust, Rose + Rye’s banana Nutella pie isn’t just good, or even great - it’s Decadent with a capital D. Head to their Instagram to place an order.
Shappy Pretzel Co.
Philadelphia might’ve given us Gritty and Kitten Mittens, but our favorite thing to ever come from The City Of Brotherly Love is unequivocally the soft pretzel. And now, you can get the real thing right here in LA. Operating out a cafe/catering shop in Studio City, Shappy Pretzels is a one-man pop-up that offers pick-up from 11am-1pm Thursday-Sunday. Ordering can be done via their website, but be sure to plan ahead, they tend to be sold out about two weeks in advance.
This is easily the cutest coffee pop-up in the city, and perhaps even… the world? Operating out of the Chinatown stationery store Paper Please (good manners abound here), Thank You Coffee offers a compact menu of pour overs, herbal teas, and specialty drinks, like the You’re Welcome latte, made with lapsang souchong syrup (a smoky, aromatic black tea from China’s Fujian Province), chicory pecan bitters, espresso, and oat milk. Plus all of the bottles come with little cat drawings. What the hell.
Rebecca King is the titular Bad Jew at her “very un-kosher” sandwich pop-up, which operates weekends out of places like The Nosh in Beverly Hills and Naughty Pig on the Sunset Strip. She wood-smokes and cures all her own meats for sandwiches like the Reubecca (a corned pork Reuben) and the Danny Boy (a pork pastrami Reuben).
This backyard spot in Highland Park is making some of the Best New Tacos In LA. Starting with a Dodger-blue corn tortilla base (taquero Victor Villa’s tribute to his hometown team), these seven-layer quesotacos pile on the mesquite-grilled meats, and are made even better with a bit of Villa’s fiery salsas and pinch of pickled hibiscus onions. The house specialty - and we mean that literally, since Villa operates out of his grandmother’s corner lot - is chorizo and potato, which we love. Give them a follow on Instagram, and DM your order for pick-up.
Warung Bali is a Sunday-only pop-up that operates out of Iki Ramen in Koreatown and specializes in Balinese-style seafood bento boxes. For only $22, you get grilled snapper and shrimp, spicy sauteed squid, urab sayur (Balinese mixed vegetable), acar (pickled vegetables), and two different kinds of sambal. It’s a great value, but considering how incredible the food tastes, we’d pay double that to get it. All pre-orders are done through their Instagram.