Loongbar was an ambitiously innovative effort, combining pan-Asian cuisine and decor. However, its Ghirardelli Square location was off the beaten path for locals, and its entrance was hard for passersby to find. In addition, its serious cooking was not geared toward the many tourists frequenting the area. Miller left Loongbar last November to its majority owner, Real American Restaurants.
Johnson recently purchased a majority share in the new restaurant that will replace Loongbar. The concept will still be Asian, but this time will be focused on Vietnamese cuisine. At the helm will be Khai Duong, formerly chef at Le Colonial, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant in Los Angeles. (Le Colonial has two other locations, in New York and San Francisco.)
With its entrance hidden behind the restaurant and up a flight of stairs, accessibility may have been one of Loongbar's greatest problems. With Ana Mandara, "we're going to bring the door down to street level," said David Dodson, director of finance and administration for Real American Restaurants. It's a simple concept, but perhaps a critical one.
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