Fashion designer and entrepreneur Humberto Leon, co-founder of the opening ceremony and co-creative director of Kenzo, will open its second restaurant in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Like his first restaurant, Chifa, in Highland Park, Arcadia’s new Monarch is a family-owned establishment that will return to its roots while updating old recipes and redefining American Chinese cuisine. I am aiming for Monarch is also where Leon launches new collections of apparel, chef his totes, lunch boxes, pens and more. The new Monarch x VistaPrint collaboration is available online and in restaurants.
Leon spent his teenage years in the San Gabriel Valley (specifically Arcadia, Rosemead, and San Gabriel), so Monarch feels like home.
“There’s a lot of great Asian food here,” he says. “It is very exciting for us to be able to open a restaurant in the community that I love, grow and continue to support. We are excited to see how we can offer something that is traditional yet modern in a way. After all, we always cook for ourselves. And the way we cook at home is the way we cook for our guests.”
Like Chifa, Leon runs Monarch with his sister (Ricardina Leon), brother-in-law (chef John Liu), and mother (Wendy Leon, also known as Popo). The Cantonese/Taiwanese restaurant’s opening menu includes crab and sweet corn soup, silken steamed egg (can be topped with sea urchin), sweet and sour pork, black pepper lobster tail, Trinity fried rice (garlic, ginger, green onion and egg, Grilled pork chop rice topped with shrimp and fish roe) and Gruyère. There is also a range of premium Wagyu beef available through his partnership with Westholme in Australia. Liu makes her favorite family recipe beef her noodles her soup with her Westholme brisket. His menu also includes Filet Mignon Tartare (which can be topped with egg caviar), Braised Short His Ribs with Stewed Meat, and Big His Steaks, including a 32-ounce Tomahawk, all from Westholm.
And it’s all happening in the moving space Leon designed with architect Michael Loverich.
“I’ve always been dedicated to creating experiential dining experiences,” Leon says. “The inspiration for this space was to make people feel like gods walking in the clouds.”
Coming from a large family who owns a Hokey Noodle/Cantonese BBQ restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley, Leung worked at his uncle’s dim sum parlor as a teenager. He has long loved and been proud of the “duality” of this area of Los Angeles County. It’s a vast and diverse celebration place where you can not only eat some of the best inexpensive meals in the world, but also hit balls with oversized crustaceans.
“When Chinese people go to SGV for Chinese food, they find that double boiled soup and amazing king crab and pay extra, whether it’s on the menu or not,” he said. increase. “I think Monarch also represents the duality of good food that isn’t too expensive…but if you want to elevate it a bit, you can. I think that’s what Chifa is doing.” ..for $25 you can eat it which is great but you can also splurge.I think the elevation certainly comes into the atmosphere as well.It comes from my background and the aesthetics I really hope that is on par with food.”
And since there aren’t many restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley with strong cocktail lists, Monarch works with Asian brands like Sông Cái (gin) and Vervet (canned cocktails) to find the right cocktails to go with the dish. We create a drinking environment. The restaurant wants to try a variety of small liqueurs.
Collaboration is important to Leon. At Chifa, friends like Spike Jones, Ali Wong, and Solange Knowles helped develop a special, limited-time dish. Monarch’s opening His menu includes Frawling LA’s signature black sesame brownie (run by chef Heather Wong, who will soon open a brick-and-mortar bakery in Chinatown), along with specialties such as white pepper and red azuki beans. Includes his flavors of plant-based ice cream. – Red Bean Swirls from Lavender & Truffles (founded by Alice Liu, who, like Leon, moved from New York fashion to Los Angeles food).
The product Leon debuted at VistaPrint is another way to enhance the experience of visiting Monarch.
“I’ve always liked to experience something and walk away with something, whether it’s a play or a meal,” he says. I tell people it’s the customer.What’s interesting about Monarch is that we wanted to go beyond t-shirts and sweatshirts.It feels like a lot of restaurants have their own brand.If they serve the right thing. If you do, I would like to buy it.”
So, using artwork from Naomi Otsu, Vanna Youngstein, and Li Kuanzhen, we created a collection of everything from bottle openers and pens to clothing for children and adults. Monarch’s logo is a butterfly designed by Otsu. Leon believes butterflies have the ability to fly between worlds and dimensions. He wants to know where his new restaurant will take him, his family, and his guests. .