Video: Roy Choi Wants The Next Food Revolution To Start In Watts
Things are looking up for the plan by Roy Choi and San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson to remake the fast food industry. On Tuesday, the pair's Indiegogo campaign hit its goal with a couple days to spare. Yesterday Choi took local councilman Joe Buscaino on a tour of the first location for Loco'l, a chain of fast food restaurants that he hopes will break the mold.
The first location will be in Watts at a site that used to be smoke shop and a barbershop. Choi says that his team wanted to open a location somewhere in South Los Angeles, and they ended up focusing on Watts because of the sense of community they found there. The restaurant will feature a bakery, a commissary kitchen and a sit-down restaurant with take-out options. Choi promises nothing will be frozen and all the food will be made in-house with real ingredients and real produce. The plan is to make everything on the menu around $2-$6.
Choi, the grandfather of the food truck trend, says that the next revolution is bringing affordable, healthy, delicious food to all communities:
We gotta start caring for everyone, you know? We have a system and a cycle in America where we're pulling programs, we're providing less jobs, we're providing the worst food for the communities and the citizens that need it the most. What we're doing is just abandoning a lot of our family within this country. Loco'l is just one step. I can't fix a lot of the other things. But what I can fix with my team and my partner Daniel is the food. There are countries in this world where the economies are poor but everyone is still eating well. Food has a lot to do with the nourishment of your body. That's the revolution. What I mean by revolution is: there's junk food. Junk food is a snack, something you eat on the side. The problem is we're eating junk food all the time. And then all our options are junk food all the time. All the fast food options are nothing but preservatives and chemicals. If that becomes the majority of your diet, what happens is that starts to shape who you are as a person. That compounded by everything else, I mean, man, how are you going to get out of that?
Watts is slated to be the first stop for Loco'l, then the Tenderloin in San Francisco. The plan is to open more in Anaheim, Oakland, Richmond and Detroit. Choi has said he wants to open "like a million" in the U.S.
Here's a tour of the new joint. It doesn't look like much now, but Choi is a man with a plan: