L.A. restaurant Dunsmoor sparks gentrification protest

Early Wednesday, long before the first doors open Glassell Park’s newest restaurantDunsmoor’s team has arrived to spray bold red and white paint on its windows.

“Gentrification Is Genocide,” it is all capitalized and in both Spanish and English, each tag is affixed to one side of the corner building, according to the owner.

It is just the beginning. The day could culminate in a protest that sees handmade signs that say, “GENTRIFIERS ARE IN THE TONIGHT MENU!” leaning against the restaurant’s window as patrons dine inside. Another neon sign warns of restaurant prices: “F— RENT YOUR $23!!!”

Former Hatchet Hall chef Brian Dunsmoor’s new restaurant opened Wednesday night in a historic Latino neighborhood that has seen a increase in property values ​​and changing demographics last. Along with its proximity to Highland Park, Glassell Park is one of several neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area that is at the heart of the city’s ongoing discussion about relocation and advancement.

“Last night we did almost 100 covers [served guests], and I touched every table,” restaurant partner Taylor Parsons said Thursday morning. “I can say that 50% come from the neighborhood, love to walk here, and they’re all really excited. Some of them verbally argued with protesters outside, entering or exiting, and some stepped forward when they saw the demonstration unfolding.

“It was a series of reactions. I think there is interest and also excitement. “

Before the protest, there was tagging. Parsons said the restaurant’s security camera captured the vandalism at 4:32 a.m. Wednesday. Based on the written message, location, handwriting and paint color, the restaurant team believes they were made by the same person or people who tagged the restaurant in January.

A resident of the neighborhood for nearly a decade, Parsons lives about five minutes from the restaurant and rushes to the space. Window graffiti, which is already available, allows the team to quickly remove the tags, and Parsons said it will file a police report on Thursday.

Exterior view of a restaurant in LA's Glassell Park.

An exterior view of Dunsmoor, a new restaurant in LA’s Glassell Park, after the graffiti “Gentrification Is Genocide” was removed from its window Wednesday.

(James Reed / Los Angeles Times)

On Tuesday, a new Instagram account named @dunsmoorisdone posted a call to action with Street Watch LA, a community advocacy group founded by American Social Democrats and the Community Action Network. Los Angeles coin.

The Instagram post calls for the protesters to come to Dunsmoor, which they claim “will bring in a little gentler people willing to pay $200 per dinner from across the County to the not-quite-polite neighborhood.” this.”

“Participating players have helped further delight other LA neighborhoods with their restaurants, including Culver City, Mar Vista and Venice, and now they have set their speculative vision forward. east and beyond,” the post added. “This group of restaurants WILL cause increased displacement – ​​and homelessness – unless they are stopped. Please come and help us send a clear message that these people not only chose the wrong neighborhood – but that progressive pioneers can no longer count on feeling empowered to open stores and cause displacement – and homelessness – wherever they see fit. Help us make it happen, that Dunsmoor is DONE. “

Representative from Instagram account @dunsmoorisdone, has 47 followers as of Thursday and could not be reached by Street Watch LA for comment at time of publication.

A man in a green cap cooks in front of a fire in a restaurant.

Chef Brian Dunsmoor tends to use his restaurant’s fireplace.

(Brigitte Neman / Dunsmoor)

Parsons said that about 60 protesters showed up on Wednesday and stood outside the restaurant, which occupies a building that has been vacant for years (according to the decades-old owner, although the space is believed to have been used for decades). for home performances). A neighbor who saw a Facebook post discussing a protest in Dunsmoor on opening night alerted the restaurant’s staff.

From about 5 to 10 p.m., protesters held up placards with exclamatory messages like “Save the hood! We say NO to luxury restaurants! Some walked up and down Eagle Rock Avenue to the neighboring cocktail bar Grant, a similarly upscale establishment where a scuffle broke out late Wednesday.

It “involves a woman who was [dining] in Dunsmoor and was walking up the block after dinner,” Michael Lippman, Grant owner, said in a statement to The Times. “Nothing is happening inside Grant (and none of our employees are involved). I’m a longtime Glassell Park resident myself and our neighborhood bar has only been open for less than a year, and we’ve never had any problems or seen any protests.” .

Parsons cited the restaurant’s size, publicity and celebrity status as factors that drew the protesters’ attention. On Wednesday, some Dunsmoor diners asked to pack their meals to go, and some canceled reservations altogether, according to Parsons.

“The people here despise it,” he said. “I am proud of the staff; They did a wonderful job. Guests are very understanding, and we strive to provide the most welcoming and hospitable service possible under these conditions. The primary concern in that situation is always the safety of your guests and staff.”

The intent of the protest, as explained in @dunsmoorisdone’s single Instagram post on Thursday, was for the restaurant to close. Parsons says that’s not going to happen. The restaurant’s structure, however, includes keeping costs in mind for diners and the neighborhood, he said, by keeping the limit of mined dishes under $40 and a lower alcohol brand limit. industry standard.

A variety of food plates.

A variety of dishes are served at Dunsmoor, a new restaurant in Glassell Park.

(Brigitte Neman / Dunsmoor)

The restaurant serves seafood, meat, and vegetables prepared through a number of methods and techniques common in early American history, such as preservation and fire grilling. Those $23 lentils, for instance, include smoked mushrooms, red onions, and sour cream, while the $11 cornbread — a feature from Dunsmoor’s time at Hatchet Hall — here uses farm-raised butter. transplant, green pepper, white cheese and honey.

The group discusses prices every day, said Parsons, who admits he doesn’t have all the answers.

“We’re just trying to bring a great little restaurant to this neighborhood and be good neighbors, community members, and stewards of our space, our street,” Parsons said. “We all live here, nearby. We are not trying to disrupt anyone’s livelihood or life.”

https://www.latimes.com/food/story/2022-06-30/dunsmoor-restaurant-glassell-park-gentrification-is-genocide-protest L.A. restaurant Dunsmoor sparks gentrification protest

Russell Falcon

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