Making an entrance at this Echo Park restaurant is not as easy as it seems

One of Echo Park’s  newest restaurants, Mooi, has attracted attention not only for its raw vegan menu but for a curious ritual. At dinner, when patrons approach the main entrance off the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street,  a sign on the double glass doors direct them to a side entrance, where a flight of stairs climbs up to  a corridor that  leads to a hostess table on a second floor mezzanine overlooking the dining room. From there, the diners walk down a grand staircase to the first floor, where they find menus tucked into copies of Dr. Seuss books.

While some folks enjoy the entrance ritual, others are not pleased, including a person named Sandra M. who left his comment on Yelp!

“Once we reached the top of the stairs we encountered signs of decor-in-progress, and we headed to an open door which led to a darkened room void of people, a kind of dining area loft, stiflingly hot, apparently where the hostess table is situated.  As we entered we heard shouting from the bottom of the stairs we just climbed.  A very attractive and hip French couple was confused as to how to get into the restaurant, and we told them that they had to come up the stairs, the way we were headed. So, back through the dark room and sauna-like heat, down a set of stairs and into the adorable main dining room of Mooi.”

Restaurant owner Stephen Hauptfuhr said patrons can still use the front doors but entering Mooi from the side doors allows them to explore the interior of landmark Jensen’s Building before descending into the dining room.

“Some people are really into it. Some people don’t understand it. That’s the way it is.”


  1. You can’t exit through those front doors either. We were told to go back around.


  2. I’m pleased to see a tenant in that space, but this restaurant needs a *lot* of work if its going to survive.

  3. Booshthelurker

    Even before they opened I was fairly certain I’d never eat there, but now I know for sure. I really don’t see this place working out.

  4. It is a landmark building in Echo Park with one of the greatest doorways on the street. It is a real shame that they are not using that door and being more friendly to the street and neighborhood.

  5. the people that run this place are barely competent. the door issue is but one example.

    no bother, they will be gone within 12 months, mark my words. GONE.

  6. What about wheel chair access?

  7. I love when a new restaurant opens up and I don’t have to waste my money to know how much I hate it. Perfect.

  8. “mooi” is dutch for “i am a moron who opened a restaurant”

  9. Jeez, such mean comments for a new business on a tough economy. Too cruel even for me. Its so easy to hate hip newcomers but the staff I encountered seemed really nice, especially considering they’re probably malnourished vegans prone to rapid crankiness. I have to say the temperature was pretty warm which I normally like but it seemed a little overkill.

    The dessert known as the “Snickers” was delicious but extremely sweet and concentrated. It felt like I had eaten a lead weight when I woke up the next morning. I find that normal though when eating raw.

    Not my cup of tea overall but I wish these guys the best of luck!! Common people! Be nice, its more fun that way.

  10. I’m sure the door policy is to maintain exclusivity. That big front door on the corner would surely allow an element to wander in who would not necessarily understand that this is a “special” restaurant which caters to a very specific clientele. They are merely keeping with the concept.

  11. i don’t mind a fun journey through an interesting building.

    i do mind having only one server and making them have to work all the tables while also in charge of making extremely complicated juices. a pop in for a quick lunch before a weekend meeting turned into an hour long experience.

    i think they need someone that is a dedicated juicer.

  12. Hey everybody, let’s play restaurant!

  13. Just wanted to note that during the day (lunch) hours, the front door is open. It’s only during the dinner service that the weird back stairs thing happens.

    Also, it’s a vegan restaurant: it’s going to be slow. They usually are. The food is delicious and refreshing–something different. The staff at Mooi are also quite friendly and down-to-earth. So just make sure you don’t have plans after dinner and you’ll be fine.

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