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Roy Choi to launch affordable, 'healthy' fast food restaurant




Roy Choi in his home city Los Angeles.
Roy Choi in his home city Los Angeles.
Bobby Fisher

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A few years back, Chef Roy Choi launched Southern California's obsession with food trucks with his mobile fusion of Korean and Mexican fare known as Kogi. Recently, he served as a consultant on Jon Favreau's hit indie film "Chef."

Now, he's ready to take on the fast food business. Earlier this summer, Choi announced plans for a new fast food restaurant with promises it will be both cheap and healthy. It's set to open next year, with possible locations coming to San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

Choi said the new restaurants will be called Locol.

"It means loco, crazy to change; and [it means] local, being local ingredient-wise, neighborhood-wise, community-wise. It's a fast food joint — straight up," Choi says.

 Food prices will be around $2 to $8, he said.

Interview highlights:

"[This mission] is important because I didn't plan it. It just came out from being five years on the street. That whole experience through Kogi opened up a doorway in me. I was able to become more sensitive and aware. I was able to translate a little more of what was going on in people's hunger, disparity and accessibility."

"We need to have something at 99 cents, too. That's such a powerful number in this landscape. We can redefine what 99 cents means. Maybe that can be the entryway to vegetables. Maybe that can be the gateway to feed people flavor and vegetables and spices."

Asked whether he's concerned about the competition, Choi said: "I'm not worried. I think I found my true courage in life. I live life like a graffiti artist. If they catch up to me, I'll just be gone and do something else."