The already-buzzy Grand Central Market is getting an extra jolt of excitement today: Sari Sari Store, the new Filipino restaurant from chef-spouse-business partner duo Margarita and Walter Manzke, opens this morning with rice bowls, halo-halo and house-made sodas galore. Given the République team's usual attention to detail, it's not surprising to see them repurpose the former Bar Moruno space by filling the stall's shelves with convenience-store items you'd find in a real Filipino sari-sari store—the inspiration for the new restaurant's name and look. Bright bottles of shampoo, spices, vinegars and tins of Spam add color and playfulness to the setting where you can take a seat at the counter and enjoy Arroz Caldo, a rice porridge with pork, charred scallions and soft eggs ($12); adobo fried rice with seasoned pork belly, pickles, peppers and fried egg ($12); and Lechón Manok, where organic rotisserie chicken meets garlic rice, fried egg and pickles ($13). There's also the classic sisig (crispy pig's head) with fried rice for $13, and the veggie option, a bowl of charred eggplant with cherry tomatoes, basil and fried egg with garlic fried rice for $11.
They also serve halo-halo, the beloved mix-and-match Filipino dessert of sweets and shaved ice, and here you'll find two options: the summer halo-halo with strawberries, watermelon ice, peaches, coconut, tapioca and leche flan, and the chocolate halo-halo, which sports chocolate, banana, caramel and peanuts (both $7). It's the first L.A. Filipino concept for the duo, though they already own and operate five Wildflour bakeries in Manila, with more to follow; for Margarita, it's a taste of her Pinoy roots. Expect only breakfast and lunch for now, with dinner service and cocktail program to follow eventually. Until then, Sari Sari Store is open from 8am to 4pm, probably closing on Mondays, but that's not all you can expect from the Manzkes today.
This afternoon the pair also launches Crèmerie, a 12-flavor gelato stall within République, just in time for National Ice Cream Day on Sunday. "It's super minimal," Walter says. "There are no sauces, no cones—just really great quality." Find fruit-forward and classic gelato and sorbet flavors, including peach, vanilla, chocolate and strawberry from noon to close within the La Brea restaurant.
Sari Sari Store opens today in Grand Central Market at 317 S. Broadway. Crèmerie launches today in République, which is located at 624 S. La Brea Ave.
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