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Why Cha Cha Chicken Rulez

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Several years ago, I used to be a Westsider and part of my weekly routine was to hit up the beach, whether playing ball on the blacktop at Venice, laying out and reading a book at Ocean Park, or people watching at Santa Monica. It was super-relaxing to be out in the sun, soaking up the ocean breeze, and enjoying the local culture. Part of the culture was stopping off at some of the eccentric beachfront shacks to grab a bite and talk with the help.

These days, I rarely get all the way out to those Westside beaches, but this past weekend, I was meeting a friend out near the pier, so we decided to eat an early dinner at Cha Cha Chicken, one of the best of the beach-area shacks. And I was happy to find that it was good as I remembered.

Cha Cha Chicken, not to be confused with Cha Cha Cha in Silver Lake and WeHo, is a shack that serves Caribbean-style cuisine. It’s actually a couple of blocks from the beach, off of Pico and Ocean, but it’s certainly close enough to trek over in your flip-flops. There’s no indoor seating: the patio area is shaded with thatch-covered umbrellas, and the walls and fences are painted with bright festive colors and murals.