The People’s Cheesburger →

Willy Blackmore · Eater ·

At lunchtime on a Saturday in early June, in the south Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts, the temperature tipped up over the 90-degree mark. Locol, a fast food restaurant at the corner of 103rd and Anzac Avenue, was full of customers. Twenty or so people sat on wooden blocks that lined the dining room wall like oversized baby toys, eating fried chicken nuggets studded with bits of fermented barley, “burgs” made from beef mixed with grains and tofu, and for dessert, ice cream sundaes topped with candied kumquats and banana cream. Locol’s co-founders, chefs Roy Choi and Daniel Patterson, were up in the Bay Area to fine-tune the burgeoning chain’s weeks-old second location in Oakland, and here in Watts, things were running smoothly without them, order numbers ringing out over the soundtrack of old-school Gang Starr and classic R&B jams like “All Night Long.” One of the most powerful Black women in Congress was holding court in the restaurant; later that day, a former US president would do the same.