Restaurant Pop-up Standouts to Try in Pasadena

A look at this season’s roaming dining destinations.

While the term pop-up applies to everything from a retail launch to a boxing workout, the restaurant industry has fully embraced this temporary mode of operating a business. From a celebratory one-night event to a weekend in Cabo, here are some fun ones to pop into this summer and beyond.

ROCA has popped up at The Americana at Brand in Glendale with patio dining through the summer. This elevated take on Roman-style street-food pizza from Rick Rosenfield (co-founder of California Pizza Kitchen), features acclaimed Executive Chef Luigi Roditis from El Segundo’s Il Romanista. Look for two brick-and-mortar locations later this year in Marina del Rey and on the Westside.

Beloved local chef Ray Garcia of Broken Spanish has been in residence at NeueHouse in Hollywood since earlier this year after his flagship downtown restaurant closed in 2020. Originally scheduled as a month-long venture, the experience has been extended to the end of July due to an overwhelmingly positive response for Garcia’s modern Mexican dishes. Reservations can be booked via Resy.

Some pop-ups, such as the h.wood Group’s Sant’olina, on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton, end up staying indefinitely. So far, slab BBQ king Burt Bakman’s Mediterranean menu has been a hit and isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future.

The Kimpton La Peer in West Hollywood offers a trio of temporary dining offerings. Olivetta on Melrose operated a short-term space at the hotel during the pandemic, which has morphed into Issima by Olivetta Mediterranean Grill from Tuesday through Saturday. On Sunday and Monday, Tokyo Nights will emerge as a Japanese street-food concept with libations and a kaiseki menu, with a menu overseen by chef Michael Rotondo from Charlie Trotter and Mexico’s One&Only. The third pop-up, Light, will offer a healthy haven for breakfast with delicious, guilt-free cuisine, including a smoothie menu inspired by the Dogpound fitness trainers nearby.

Dining Destinations:

The Farmhouse, a chic event venue at the Ojai Valley Inn, has been a hot spot for visiting L.A. chefs from Evan Funke to Josiah Citrin and Nancy Silverton. On July 4, they will hold a WhistlePig dinner by guest chef Neal Fraser (Redbird), and a Frasca Food and Wine pop-up with chef Bobby Stuckey from Boulder, Colorado, on July 8.

Down on the Baja coast, Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal has a monthly, immersive Culinary Weekend Series that features the talents of Executive Chef Gustavo Pinet alongside Michelin-starred chefs, James Beard Award winners, and Top Chef alumni. If you missed chef Michael Mina in the spring, Tex-Mex chef Ronnie Killen is scheduled for July 4th weekend; chefs Sarah Grueneberg and Mindy Segal from Chicago in October; and chef Brian Malarkey in November.

In Hawaii, the Four Seasons Resort Hualālai’s Chef in Residence Series is offering a monthly lineup of global leaders in the culinary space. Each chef will stay for a weekend pop-up with cooking classes, culminating in a special menu at the resort’s signature restaurant ‘ULU Ocean Grill + Sushi Lounge. Recent successes have included L.A.’s Chad Colby of Antico. Up next is Charles Phan of The Slanted Door (July 9–11) and Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune (August 6–8), so you have plenty of time to plan that island getaway.

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