After more than ten years in the Fashion District, the birds are moving south. The slaughterhouse for chef favorite Jidori Chicken, currently located between ladies wear outlets and sidewalk vendors on Crocker Street, is planning to close up shop at the end of summer and take the operation down to a bigger space near 42nd and Alameda, on the border between Central-Alameda and Vernon. The lease on the current 5,000 square foot building is up and won't be renewed by the landlord, but owner Dennis Mao isn't crying fowl (har) play: "The area has changed," Mao tells the Downtown News. "It used to be all warehouses but now it's more expensive and we've outgrown this place." Jidori chickens rose to fame on tables in Los Angeles restaurants like Nobu, Spago, and Rivera, and are prized for being fed only organic, vegetarian snacks while roaming free. The live chickens arrive at the Downtown location from farms in the Central Valley and are processed and shipped to chefs in under 24 hours, although sometimes they'd make a run for it--Mao says "I would sometimes have to go chase a chicken down the street." Mao hopes Jidori's new space will allow processing of up to 15,000 chickens a day and could perhaps include retail component for regular folks.
· Tastes Like Free-Range Chicken [Los Angeles Downtown News]