Storefront Report: Mooi to get a makeover

Mooi, the Echo Park raw vegan restaurant that won some loyal fans but also baffled many customers with unpredictable hours and quirky operations, is changing its name following the departure of its founder Stephen Hauptfuhr, according to people familiar with the business. Workers were in the process today of beginning to change the interior of the restaurant located in the landmark Jensen’s Recreation Center building, where the restaurant windows were papered over.  The restaurant is being taken over by some of Hauptfuhr’s partners who are also involved in Millie’s Cafe in Silver Lake. The partners plan to reopen the restaurant at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street next month under a new name but will continue to serve vegan fare – including cooked items – and expanded coffee service.

Only a few months after opening last summer, Hauptfuhr indicated in November that he was looking for partners as he cut regular operating hours. While it was open, Mooi attracted attention not only for its raw vegan cuisine but for some odd practices. For a time, patrons were directed to enter the restaurant through a side entrance and a flights of stairs that lead to a second floor mezzanine overlooking the dining room. From there, the diners walked down a grand staircase to the first floor, where they found menus tucked into copies of Dr. Seuss books.


  1. excellent news; I am vegan but prefer my food cooked.

  2. -Weird entrance
    -Dr. Seuss menus (cute idea, but bad execution)
    -Uncomfortable, mismatched tables and chairs (There’s shabby chic and then there’s just shabby)
    -Mediocre, overpriced food
    -Bad service

    It would take a lot to get me back in there. I hope the makeover turns Mooi into a decent restaurant.

  3. This is good news. While I enjoyed the food at Mooi, I found the management of the restaurant completely off-putting. “Baffling” is a good word, and I think the feeling was mutual–it seemed as though they were baffled by the fact that they actually had to serve their customers.

    So weird. Hopefully, this new venture will be more successful–and customer-service oriented.

  4. will continue to serve vegan items or will continue to serve *exclusively* vegan items?

  5. not sure this is going to save mooi, or whatever it chooses to call itself next. let’s just hope if it fails in 2011, another “hippie” tattoo shop doesn’t move in.

  6. It’s a beautiful space but the service and the “quirk” factor didn’t help. And the food was average.

    It would be nice to see some food diversity in EP. I still don’t entirely get AYC and Lot 1 has become a joke to us after the owner repeatedly bellowed about all you can eat pancakes whenever we walked by.

    I think the neighborhood could sustain someplace where the food was the star and not the weird factor.

  7. service and decor are all fine and good but what i am really dying for is a thirteen dollar sloppy joe.

  8. @Angie – Glad that someone else doesn’t get AYC either. Maybe I just didn’t order the right things, but I found it to be mediocre and overpriced. For my money, Xoia and Masa are the best things in Echo Park. Delicious and reasonable prices.

  9. @chris L: The Park belongs on the best of Echo Park list as well. it just goes to show the difference between an SF restaurant pedigree and a “Boston” restaurant pedigree (AYC)
    ps Celtics Suck

  10. @Chris yeah, Xoia was the right restaurant at the right time for EP. And so was The Park and Masa. Mooi and AYC seem off but I hope for all our sake they thrive cause more thriving business = way less crime.

  11. Agreed. The more thriving businesses the better…even if they’re not exactly everyone’s favorite restaurants.

    I still have to try the Park! Last time I tried there was an hour wait, so we bailed.

  12. We dont need another stupid ass vegan restaurant lets open more bbq joints.

  13. I have it on good authority that the new place will be called: “El Tofu Mojado”

  14. Good thing. Maybe the place will have professional servers that bring you plates with more than two bites of food on them.

  15. Ate amazing ice cream sundae with my child yesterday, the cafe menu looks great, but it’s confusing. When we went in, it looked just like a cafe/ice cream/dessert joint. I was surprised that it was two businesses inside. They would do themselves a favor to invest in a Hostess that can direct customers to food or cafe. Confusing. We want them to succeed but it still has the vibe of a mickey mouse business.

  16. Ate there on Sunday(one day after grand re-opening). I loved it. I had the Jack Daniels Bar-b-que Jackfruit sammy. Yum. Better than Pure Lucks and inexpensive. I’ll def be back.

Leave a Reply to Valentina Cancel reply

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *