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Highly regarded Napa Valley chefs Katianna and John Hong previously worked at the three Michelin star-rated The Restaurant at Meadowood, but have made their way to SoCal, in order to open up an all-new concept. Yangban Society will open up in the Arts District at Bon Temps’ old location on 712 S Santa Fe Ave, which closed down permanently due to COVID. The Hong’s are expecting an opening sometime next Spring.
“John and I have been working as chefs in Northern California. What we did was very different — fine dining, and our restaurant shared a farm,” Katianna told What Now Los Angeles (WNLA). “We were very hands-on.” They were conceiving Yangban Society while working there. “A lot of late-night conversations after work. It’s evolved into this concept which is really our experience with cooking.”
Yangban Society’s cuisine will differ significantly from The Restaurant at Meadowood’s fine-dining fare. “We like to call it American because that’s what we are, but it’s influenced by Korean,” Katianna told WNLA. “It’s inspired by my upbringing, which is Jewish deli.” Yangban Society’s cuisine is the by-product of Katianna and John’s backgrounds, as John was raised in a traditional Korean home, but is also a first-generation American. As for Katianna, the chef was adopted from Korea when they were young by a mother who is catholic and a father who was Jewish.
The name “Yangban Society” comes from a traditional Korean phrase that refers to aristocrats. “We’re using it in a more modern term and what it means to us,” the renowned chef said. “It’s less about aristocracy and more of a want to elevate society and do some good for the community.” This area in DTLA incorporates what they love about art and music and the people who share that love. “We love the arts district. It’s got that feeling.”
The Bon Temps location is being remodeled fully. Inside, they’re going to build a “pretty extensive” deli counter. Upstairs, they are going to build a liquor store of sorts, a “hunt and gather” type of marketplace concept, or rather akin to a convenience store where you can grab things like hot pretzels, rice wine, and non-alcoholic beverages. The Hongs also want to beautify the outdoor area, reimagining the feel of an outdoor street market you’d find in Seoul.
The decision to move south fell shortly after The Restaurant at Meadowood burned down in a late-September wildfire.