For those looking for some positive Echo Park news, hopefully, this would suffice. A beloved arcade bar is finally getting to reopen its doors after closing shop at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
Known for its craft beer and video game cabinets, Button Mash welcomed its most loyal patrons back on April 14th, according to the Los Angeles Times. But this time, its food menu will consist of Tijuana cuisine courtesy of Tacos 1986.
The Ideal Partnership
As Tacos 1986 co-founder Jorge Alvarez-Tostado told the LA Times, the partnership with Button Mash has been brewing for at least a year now. After having a “really cool conversation” with the owners of Button Mash, this new spot in Echo Park was born. According to Jorge, his brain “went ballistic” when he thought of the idea of combining pinball machines with his team’s voice running the place.
A Much-Needed Revamp
Before it closed its doors pre-pandemic, Button Mash featured Asian-inspired recipes from Starry Kitchen, courtesy of Nguyen and Thi Tran. They tried to keep the place up and running when the pandemic hit, but their efforts only lasted for eight months.
According to Button Mash co-owner Jordan Weiss, he and his crew were “killing” themselves to remain in operation. However, those efforts became “extremely grueling.” Weiss adds that it came to a point where their efforts were “worth it from a physical and mental perspective” given the uncertainty of the world’s situation.
Some of the menu items from Starry Kitchen were already due for a huge price bump because of the closure. Its signature wings were slated to be priced at $20 from its original $9. The cheeseburger was also due for an increase from its original $10 price tag to $18.
Keeping the Brand Alive
Weiss knew his customer base well, and he was adamant about keeping things intact. While he was aware that the arcade bar concept was a “really unusual model,” it was what the spot was known for.
The owners of Starry Kitchen understood the situation and agreed to give way. Co-owner Nguyen Tran said there were “no hard feelings” from the split and that they will find another way to serve their customer base. As of this writing, Starry Kitchen is planning more of a pop-up spot than a full-on restaurant.
As for the new Button Mash, its doors are open from Tuesday to Friday from 5 PM to midnight, on Saturdays from 1 PM to 2 AM, and on Sundays from 1 PM to midnight.
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