L.A.’s Starry Kitchen—a restaurant that Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Jonathan Gold has featured on his “101 Best Restaurants” list for the past two years—is looking to open a legit brick and mortar location, and is raising funds via Kickstarter.
Listen up, potential Starry Kitchen Kickstarter investors: If you pledge $10,000 to help fund the restaurant, owner Nguyen Tran will get a tattoo of a frolicking unicorn on his forearm—with your face in place of the unicorn’s face. The man isn’t joking; he says, “I cannot WAIT to tell my kids in the future how I sold my body for money and show them those unicorn(s)!”
The Asian pop-up began five years ago as an illegal underground operation running of out of chef Thi Tran and her husband Nguyen’s North Hollywood apartment. That operation was eventually shut down by the health department, and in February 2010 the couple launched a true brick and mortar location. After a few missteps, the team eventually had to sell the space, and since then Starry Kitchen has operated as a pop up. (Not just any pop up, we might add—the team did a couple cannabis dinners in 2012.)
Now, the Starry Kitchen team wants to re-open as a brick and mortar in L.A.’s Chinatown, and has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $500,000 to fund the restaurant. It’s called “#SaveOurBalls…And Our Restaurant!” (This refers to the restaurant’s Crispy Tofu Balls, of course.)
When we asked the restaurateur “Why a frolicking unicorn tattoo?” he gave us three answers:
1. Why NOT?!
2. Because it’s hilarious!
3. YEARS ago a friend of mine convinced me that “glitter tattoos” were going to be the NEXT new thing, and she convinced me to get one. She asked me if I wanted a skull-and-crossbones, or a shark. I shook my head, and I said, ‘NO, I WANT THAT MOTHER FUCKING UNICORN’ and she gave it to me. Afterwards I would go to bars and strike conversation with this bit of gold, ‘Hey, you want to see something tough bro?’ and then I’d spring the glitter unicorn tattoo on them and say, ‘it’s a mother fucking unicorn, now THAT’S TOUGH!’ ..and I’d get free drinks for that ALL THE TIME.
Nguyen admits that $500,000 is a lot of money to crowdsource. But he argues that it is justified: “I may sound crazy, but there is no room to ‘break the rules’ when it comes to the cost of opening a full fledged restaurant.” Is there a plan b? Nguyen says, “Noooope, this is the plan.”
If you have $10k to spare, we suggest you donate it to the Starry Kitchen Kickstarter. Why? Not only is it an awesome restaurant, but having a dude get a tattoo of a a unicorn with your face on it is hilarious. Think of the possibilities…
Act fast, there’s only 27 days to go, and Nguyen will only get five custom unicorn tattoos.