Home

Why Watts Is Becoming An Unexpected Foodie Destination

By Sharelle Burt

Share

There are so many neighborhoods in the United States that are stricken with drugs and gang violence, making them a sore sight for tourists. However, you shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover. Despite what it might look like to outsiders, locals and real travelers know those neighborhoods have some of the best people and some of the best food you’ll ever have.

Neighborhoods like Watts in California fits into this category. Known for random drivebys and massive gang violence, their food scene is last on the list when you think of the area, but things have changed over the years. Food hotspots like All Flavor No Grease and Hawkins House of Burgers are encouraging visitors to come and experience the unique tastes on their own, regardless of what their addresses are. Like Hawkins Burgers, which apparently sits in Blood territory, or All Flavor, No Grease, which was set up in active Crip territory. All Flavor, No Grease owner Keith Garrett, who started his business in his own front yard, boasts about his positive relationship with the neighborhood gang culture.

RELATED: LA African Is Changing The Way African Millennials Network

In fact, there was a time when Garrett, known as a Watts legend and making a mean quesadilla, brought the rival gangs together for a peace offering while he was setting up shop. “There was a meeting held at Markham Middle School, with both rival gangs,” Garrett said. “It was like, ‘If Keith said it was cool, it gotta be cool. He comes in peace, so we know he wouldn’t put our lives in danger to come get a plate.'” Food brought them to a neutral place. While Garrett said there was still tension, the respect was given.

Instagram

 

The same respect goes for Cynthia Hawkins, owner of Hawkins House of Burgers. The black-owned business, which is often called the best burgers in Los Angeles, has a lot of history behind. The building was the only spot untouched during the Watts Riots in 1965 and not by accident. Being that Hawkins’ had a reputation of feeding the community, looters gave them a pass. Celebrities like Grammy-award winning rapper Jay Rock, who grew up in the neighborhood, has given his stamp of approval as well as Baron Davis, and Hilary Clinton, who stopped by during her 2018 presidential campaign.

Instagram

After Yelp reviews and Instagram posts help get the word around about these two spots and how safe the neighborhood was for a food business, famous chef Roy Choi decided to establish the LocoL restaurant in Watts. As one of the founders of the gourmet food truck movement, Choi’s name alone brought in outsiders that would probably never give the hood a chance. Although the LocoL restuarants have closed, the food truck is still in operation. Leave it to food to bring people together, regardless of what color they are or what color they are wearing.


Share
Travel Noire

Sharelle Burt

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

These ‘Blue Zones’ Can Teach Us About Health & Longevity

These ‘Blue Zones’ Can Teach Us About Health & Longevity

Blue Zones are areas in the world that have a high concentration of individuals over 100 years old, living without health problems like heart disease, obesity, cancer, or diabetes. The characteristics of these areas vary greatly from their natural environments and healthy diets to a strong sense of community or “tribal” living. One thing is for […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin

Savor: Red’s Flavor Table

Savor: Red’s Flavor Table

Experience a bit of New Orleans flavor while in California by visiting Red’s Flavor Table. With two locations in Inglewood and Los Angeles, it’s a go-to place if you’re in the L.A. area. Red’s Flavor Table is a black-owned New Orleans style breakfast spot that offering delectable dishes like shrimp and grits, French toast, peach […]

Kelsey Marie / Los Angeles, California

JetBlue Flash Sale Has One-Way Flights For $20

JetBlue Flash Sale Has One-Way Flights For $20

JetBlue has announced its seasonal flash sale that allows you to pick various flights from cities across the country starting at just $20, plus fees one-way. And with all things that seem too good to be true, there is a catch.  You only have just a few hours to book this flight deal.  The flash […]

Parker Diakite