Plancha Latin Kitchen

Build-your-own bowls will be on the fast-casual menu at LBX’s new Plancha Latin Kitchen set to open in late October. 

An independent fast-casual restaurant concept, Plancha Latin Kitchen, is opening its first location this month at Long Beach Exchange, adding some fresh flavor to LBX’s mix of mostly name brand stores and well-established SoCal-based chains.

“This restaurant has been in the works for years,” according to owner Endie Widjaja. “We had our team solidified, menu conceptualized, and marketing strategy buttoned-up — all we were waiting for was the perfect spot to debut our first location. Long Beach is the middle ground between Orange County and Los Angeles, and once this opening is under our belts, we plan to expand the concept throughout Southern California and beyond.”

Plancha soon is expected to start serving Latin specialties cooked in an open kitchen on a “plancha,” which is a sort of griddle or round metal plate.

Customers at 3860 Worsham Ave. will order at the counter before food is brought to their table, and they will have the option of adding onto their orders from their seats in a concept that company president Jorge Healy called “fast-casual-plus.”

The menu is being created by consulting chef Katie Sutton and will include selections such as savory and sweet empanadas, patacones, arepas, cubanos, and layered Latin-flavored bowls, along with craft beers on tap, Latin American wines, house-made sangria and organic sodas.

“When I started working on this project, I realized that I already owned over 50 Latin American cookbooks that I had been collecting from my travels,” Sutton said. “Latin flavors are my favorite to work with — dozens of combinations, the ability to cater to various dietary restrictions, and endless opportunities to be creative.”

Company officials said what would make Plancha a success is the strong leadership of the well-seasoned restaurant experts who have worked together to build the concept.

“After spending many years working with multiple restaurant brands, a group of seasoned and passionate restaurant veterans came together to establish a brand of our own — something we could all contribute to and be proud of,” said Christina Fumia, vice president of marketing for Plancha. “Collectively, the pedigree is very strong. Our team has worked at major brands like El Pollo Loco, Taco Bell, Mimi’s Café, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, California Fish Grill, Togo’s, Chili’s, Yard House, Marie Callender’s, Steak N’ Shake, Church’s Chicken, and Hess Collection Winery. We all offer something unique in our roles, and are excited to bring the best of the industry to Long Beach.”

It’ll be the latest addition to the Long Beach Exchange that has reshaped Douglas Park with new businesses opening regularly since developer Burnham USA/Burnham-Ward Properties completed construction on the site last year. Tenants at LBX are spread out among three distinct airport-themed zones — McGowen’s Approach, The Landing and The Hangar @ LBX.

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