Fate of Cha Cha Cha restaurant up in the air after property is sold


Storefront ReportEAST HOLLYWOOD — It has been about 30 years since Cha Cha Cha opened at the corner of Virgil and Melrose avenues, attracting customers with a contemporary blend of Caribbean and Latino cuisines served inside a colorful, ramshackle storefront and patio. But now it appears that Cha Cha Cha has served its last plate of Jamaican Jerk Chicken and goat-cheese quesadillas.

Postings on the restaurant’s Facebook page  said that Sunday was the “last day (for the present) to get your Cha Cha Cha on!”

There was no more information about the closure or about a possible reopening. The property was sold at the end of August for $2.625 million, according to Redfin. The corner lot was promoted as a “development opportunity.”

The Eastsider has contacted a restaurant employee for details.

Cha Cha Cha was opened by Toribio Prado and Mario Tamayo, according to the restaurant’s website. A few years after Cha Cha Cha opened on Virgil, more restaurants opened in Long Beach, Encino and San Francisco. Prado’s nephews bought the original Cha Cha Cha on Virgil in 2003.

In recent years, Virgil has begun to attract other new shops and restaurants, including Jessica Koslow’s acclaimed Sqirl.

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  1. Well that blows …but it’s the inevitable in these times . Roots are just uprooting all across town . Nothing is safe …nothing is sacred ….all is for SALE!! except Norms on La Cienega ( WTF) next it will. Be Taix- the echo – -el compadre – the Dresden – tiki ti – red lion – the other cha cha ( sorry hipsters ). The list goes on …get ready …get use to it . Future Trumpville

    • They can have Taix if they want, but if they touch Tiki-Ti or the Echo I’m gonna start a riot

      • TAIX is an established business here !
        It’s the place where those of us who grew up here still run into family and friends we went to school with , celebrated birthdays , met after or before Dodger / Kings games etc .
        It has also evolved to welcome Bands, comedians , and Echo Park Rising .
        TAIX had bend and hung on and survived and hopefully survive the greedy developers and flippers
        Because you have no ties here , you could care less about it , but what can you expect from the people who have no history here , didn’t go to the schools here or raise good hard working families here .
        Lame !

      • At least the Tiki Ti can be moved. But yeah it is on a nice piece of land.

    • Becky with the good hair

      Norms on La Cienega owns the property which is why they are able to weather the storms of change. What a concept!

  2. RIP Cha Cha Cha! Sunday brunch with my gay posse in the 90’s…….such good times.

  3. according to an employee on saturday, the entire property is to be developed into the ever popular mixed user with business space below & apartments on top. to add insult to injury, the cha cha cha owners didn’t have the guts to tell the employees in person & left a note on the punch clock on friday: “closing business on sunday.” wow. so sad. been eating brunch there monthly for last 15 yrs.

  4. Yea always loved the quiet brunches here that seemed to avoid the long waits and hurry at other spots. Fantastic food, in an interesting space and the staff was always so nice. Will be missed 🙁

  5. More horrific gentrification. Naturally this will turn into yet ANOTHER Anglo vegan family gluten-free restaurant. Anything for gays or Latinos are immediately gutted once the yuppies and hipsters set their eyes on a place. This has been going on like wildfire since 2009. It is devastating. Cha CHa Cha was our last place left.

    • Gentrification is not an “Anglo” act. Look around and you will see these people you call hipsters and yuppies as regular people of all walks of life, and descendants from people from all corners of the Earth. Indian, Asian, Hispanic, etc. And yes, some are indeed gay. Many are Hispanic sons and daughters of people who settled in Echo Park 20-30 years ago. They may not like your music, or dress like you, but they are human beings, with careers and some are even young parents. Your parents were “breeders” too. Why you seem to think that a family restaurant is a bad thing is anyone’s guess. To allege that gays and Latinos are targeted is nothing short of silliness and is baseless. I do find it odd (don’t you Damon?) that the loudest anti-gentrification people happen to be Whites who moved into 90026 20-30 years ago. As though they are the “approved ones” in the neighborhood, and anyone who comes after is worthy of an insulting slur. What utter self-righteousness…

      Echo Park in the 1940s and 1950s was mostly families. (Hence the many single family 2-3 bedroom homes) The neighborhood became increasingly Hispanic and gay in the 70s and 80s. That was a change. And it is changing again, and will yet again. No one has the license to keep a neighborhood living in one particular slice of its past. The owner of the property of Cha Cha Cha sold his or her property, as is their right, as is your right to buy and sell (or rent a room) anywhere you want – no matter what your skin color is or that of your preferred neighbors.

  6. Will greatly miss the jerked pork platter. So delicious. Wish I had had more notice to get me one last fix!

  7. wow, just went here recently. Food and ambience is pretty bomb. and someones going to gentrify this place. stupid! It’s time to move out of LA…not really.

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