Locol is the brainchild between Roy Choi, of Kogi fame, and Daniel Patterson, of Coi fame, a 2 star Michelin restaurant in San Francisco. Patterson recently relinquished control of Coi to Matt Kirkley, as Patterson decided to focus more on Locol. An impressive group of advisors also includes Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine fame, and Rene Redzepi, of the world famous Noma in Copenhagen which has been named the number 1 restaurant in the world on several occasions.
With Locol, Choi and Patterson hope to revolutionize the fast food industry by offering healthier food at affordable prices. Their focus so far has been on inner city neighborhoods, where affordable and healthy eating options are sorely lacking. So far, there are Locol restaurants in Oakland and Watts, with the San Francisco tenderloin district being developed.
Prices at Locol range from $1-$6, and offer a variety of menu items.
The Noodleman ($6) contains noodles, tofu and vegetables with ginger, chile and lime. Despite the wide ranging flavors in the menu, the taste was just not there. Some salt could have gone a long way in this dish. For the concept, the portion size was also a little small.
The Chicken Nugs ($3) contained three pieces of real chicken cooked to a nice golden brown. A departure from formed nuggets like all fast food restaurants, this was a welcome sight. The flavor was there, but I was wanting more when the dish was finished.
The Rice ($1) was a scoop of rice, much like you find on a plate lunch from a Hawaiian restaurant.
The Beef & Onion Gravy ($1) went well with the rice, and was more like a soupy chili, but the combination of the beef and onion gravy with the rice was a definite winner.
The Carnitas Foldie ($2) is like a thin grilled taco. The taco had a nice crispness to it, thanks to it being on the griddle. The filling went to the edges of tortilla. The foldie was good, but again could have used a touch more salt.
The Locol Cheeseburg ($6) was developed by Patterson and is 2/3 meat, and 1/3 quinoa, barley, seaweed, white soy, and garum. Locol is trying to incorporate more grains into the menu for two reasons. To keep costs down, while making food healthier. The buns are made by Tartine Bakery. The burger was good, but with the added grains into the burger it did taste less “beefy”. Fresh veggies topped the burger to add some nice crunch.
The concept by Choi and Patterson is to be commended. They are trying to revolutionize the fast food industry in several ways. In addition to offering healthier and more sustainable fast food at affordable prices, they expect to pay employees 20% higher than minimum wage, and to bring these locations to the inner cities.