Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Peruvian Chicken Joint Getting a New Home Next Door

The scruffy corner shop will be open for another month. If you love the old ambiance, be sure to get in there before the end of May when it’ll move into its new digs.

Residents on my street have a well-kept secret we turn to for last minute meals, for parties when you just can’t cook, for the mouth-watering, smoke-tinged taste that will melt in your mouth: Peruvian spiced chicken from Pollo a la Brasa. We even love the old building, perched on the corner of 8th and Western with its nod to the 50’s diner, and its stacks of wood piled high on the outside walls.Walk in the front door and you encounter the red-hot fire, with chickens on rotisserie above the open flame, spitting juices and aromas that make you hungrier than you thought you were.

The tiny operation, often with a line out the door, will soon be moving a few yards east on the same lot to a bright yellow structure. The new restaurant will offer more seating and a brand-spanking-new fire-stoked oven. The fire will still be fueled by the piles of firewood stacked outside, which surprisingly, is delivered by gardeners and landscapers around the city who tote the heavy logs and branches to this small urban lot for inspection by owner Koshei Maekawa before they’re accepted. The gardeners are paid for their efforts.

One of the wood piles – already split and ready for stacking, right there on the corner.

“I started out here at 14 years old, splitting logs for the fire for my dad” the owner’s son Ivan Maekawa told the Buzz in a recent phone interview. “We pick and choose which wood we’ll take – some dries better than others and that’s what we need for a good hot fire.”

WESTERN on the sign has always been inverse

The new signage plays off the former backwards lettering of the old joint too. According to Ivan, the original “Western” sign was printed in reverse and they’re keeping with the tradition. “My dad always found it drew people into the place – to come in and ask about it. Then they smell the chicken and decide to try it.” It is indeed delicious chicken – super juicy with a burnished smokey crisp skin, and served with a hot green Peruvian aji sauce on the side (not to be missed.) French fries, beans, rice and/or salad are offered as side dishes.

Of note – when the old building is raised there will be 7-8 parking spaces on the site, a welcome change from hunting for parking near the busy intersection. Pollo a la Brasa is planning a grand opening for the end of May when 100 roasted chickens will be given away to customers.

This is the kind of eaterie that is exemplary of the melting pot that is LA: a Japanese-born owner, his Peruvian-raised son, selling Peruvian chicken on the corner of a Koreatown neighborhood where customers of every nationality and origin line up for their share of Pollo a la Brasa. It’s a nice secret – but maybe not for long.

Pollo a la Brasa
764 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90005
11:30 am – 9:30 pm daily
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Julie Grist
Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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