After almost 15 years in business, Los Angeles's most famous Haitian restaurant, TiGeorges' Chicken, is closing.
If you want a piece of the Echo Park institution's famous chicken, grilled over an avocado wood fire in a pit in the center of the dining room — a design embellishment that would likely be forbidden under current building codes — you have until Sunday.
Owner TiGeorges Laguerre, who Off-Ramp profiled back in February, tells KPCC that the he'll be grilling through the weekend and will pack up the restaurant on Tuesday.
The building, which Laguerre doesn't own, was sold to a new owner, as Eater reported last month.
The restaurant, located on a relatively unhipsterfied stretch of Glendale Boulevard, has been threatened with closure before. This time it's real.
"Well, you know, this is something that was in my mind for the last 20 years. I was never going to do it, but this time I think the timing is perfect," Laguerre says. He's surprisingly upbeat about the situation.
Laguerre doesn't know what the new owner plans to do with the building, but he knows where he'll be heading: Miami. Eighty percent of his family lives there, Laguerre says, and it puts him closer to his native Haiti.
"I'm going to go be in the Haitian community and do what I know best: cooking," he says. He won't reveal details, but when asked if he's planning another restaurant, he says, "Oh, yes. Big time!" He'll also be involved in his family's coffee business.
More than just a restaurant, TiGeorges' was a de facto community center for L.A.'s expat Haitian community — and for anyone who appreciated Laguerre's stories and larger-than-life personality.
"I feel sad," says Jeremy Rosenberg, a longtime friend who coauthored Laguerre's recent memoir, "No Man Is An Island." "I think there's a loss for many communities. I spoke with a friend of his and that guy was borderline devastated. But Georges is like a cat with nine lives. I am confident that whatever he does next, it's going to be something worth following."