While the first location of Loco'l is not expected to open in the Tenderloin until later this Fall, Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi got the profile treatment in the Wall Street Journal Magazine earlier this month. The piece sheds some additional details on an ambitious project that hopes to shake up the fast food industry. Here now, in easily digestible list form, are five new things we learned:
- To keep costs affordable, the signature Loco'l burger will be two-thirds meat and one-third grain. This was mentioned in the original Kickstarter for the project, but now we have an official breakdown and ingredients list: "a mix of beef, quinoa, barley, seaweed, white soy and garum — a highly-flavored fermented beef extract that belongs, technologically, to the world of chefs." (Sidenote: garum is traditionally known as a fish sauce.)
- The menu is broken into five categories and also takes cues from the fast food concepts it is meant to replace. According to Choi, those categories are: "Rollies, Foldies, Bowls, Burgs, Yotchays and Dulces." (Snacks and veggies fall into the "Yotchays" category.) Everything will hit price points between $0.99 and $6, with a few pricey items hitting around eight bucks. Choi envisions kids, "rolling up, being like, ‘Gimme two Foldies, a Rollie and a Burg.' "
- Food aside, Patterson and Choi hope to address the fast food wage issue as well. The pair expects to pay employees "around 20 percent higher than minimum wage," according to the WSJ. (NB: we presume they mean the federal minimum wage.) In addition to better pay, Patterson hopes skills taught at Loco'l will help employees transition into better food jobs later. "People could start here," Patterson explained, "and go on to work in any kitchen in the world."
- They're literally squishing Tartine buns on a griddle: This might seem like sacrilege to the folks in like for baked goods in the Mission, but Choi is going for fast food portability here. "I keep thinking about mobility," Choi said just before throwing an entirely dressed burger and bun back on the griddle, "taking it outside, skateboarding with it, eating it on a bike."
- Jarobi White from A Tribe Called Quest is not only a chef, but also "down to run" Loco'l's still-in-the-works NYC location. (Although this is just an unconfirmed quote from Choi at the moment.)
The entire profile is worth a read just to get a sense of the dynamic between the unlikely Bay Area-LA pair of Patterson and Choi. Also, when asked how many restaurants they plan to open, both answered: a million. Dang. Pass those chicken nugs.