- 6th St and Alexandria AveKoreatown, Wilshire Center
Built in 1929, Chapman Plaza AKA Chapman Park Market is a major shopping and dining structure on 6th Street, between S Alexandria Ave and S Kenmore Ave (yelp.com/biz_photos/chap…). It’s considered one of the main attractions in the Wilshire District of Koreatown. At the time of it’s inception, it was a new concept where Hollywood movie stars could go for one stop shopping of fresh produce, meat, and dry goods. If my memory serves me correct, this location had the world’s first drive-thru grocery store/market, as it served the wealthy families of the Fremont Place, Windsor Square, and Hancock Park neighborhoods of LA who drove to get their groceries. An entire central courtyard was set aside for automobile parking.
Fast forward 85 years later and the outdoor complex is still busy as ever for the many Angelinos that live nearby. The historic building caters mostly to the Korean population, but I can attest that people of all cultures flock there these days for it’s delicious dining and trendy nightlife. The building was restored in 1989 to include second story offices, while still having one of the finest examples of Spanish Revival architecture in LA. Originally, the building was built for Charles Chapman (known as the Orange King of CA) and his Chapman brothers who were major land owners. Ever hear of Chapman University? YUP, it’s one in the same.
* Kang Hodong Baekjeong (yelp.com/biz_photos/kang…). Their second location in OC is set to open in Buena Park at the Village Circle on Beach.
* Toe Bang (yelp.com/biz_photos/toe-…). The only location in K-town that you can find a Water Wheel.
* The Gogi (yelp.com/biz/the-gogi-lo…). Only been here a couple times, but it seems to be the AYCE alternative for those who are impatient to wait for Kang Hodong Baekjeong.
* Cafe Bliss (yelp.com/biz/cafe-bliss-…). Tailored for those who don’t favor Gaam, some of the foot traffic hits here, with karaoke rooms and a full bar present on the second floor.
* Gaam Restaurant and Lounge (yelp.com/biz/gaam-restau…). Still, one of the hottest places for the mid 20′s hipsters and FOB’s in K-town. Music is bumping, with an outdoor patio on the top floor.
* K Pop Karaoke (yelp.com/biz/k-pop-karao…). The main noraebang within the complex, with a top notch system and above average service. It’s a good place to drown that buzz before making the drive back home.
* Antique Cafe (yelp.com/biz/antique-caf…). I remember this place being a better cafe in the past, but even the hookah and desserts can’t stop this place from being rated so poorly.
* Lighthouse Waffles & Cake (yelp.com/biz/lighthouse-…). Never been here since they took over Cake Salon Bosco a while back. For some odd reason, the coffee shops seem to tank at this plaza.
* Sake House by Hikari (yelp.com/biz/sake-house-…). Once, Kyoto Sushi, recently Bistro Sakana, and now Sake House by Hikari. Let’s hope this Japanese infused sushi bar can stay open longer than it’s predecessors.
I would really consider valet parking when it’s busy and to press your luck with the meter parking around the block, if you can find a premier spot. Regardless, of it’s issues, I’m always going to have very fond memories of Chapman Plaza. I had some great times when former businesses such as Intercrew Cafe and Bohemian Restaurant still held their ground, but now with a new generation of party goers hitting the scene, I imagine it’ll be popular and busy as ever.