City of Gold

L.A. names plaza after late Times food critic Jonathan Gold

Urbanism West
Late Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold was given a hero’s send-off this weekend at a public memorial honoring his legacy in Southern California. (PunkToad/Wikimedia)
Late Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold was given a hero’s send-off this weekend at a public memorial honoring his legacy in Southern California. (PunkToad/Wikimedia)

The City of Los Angeles has dedicated a section of sidewalk outside the city’s historic Grand Central Market food hall in honor of the late Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold.

Gold passed away July 21, leaving behind a storied legacy of trailblazing and award-winning food criticism that appreciated and elevated haute and down-home cuisine in equal measures.

Drawing of Gold’s plaque.

A plaque designed by LA-Más honoring Gold will be installed in a plaza outside L.A.’s Grand Central Market food hall dedicated to the food critic. (Courtesy LA-Más) 

Gold was given a hero’s send-off this weekend during a food festival that was organized in his honor. As part of the celebrations, LA-Más designed a pair of powder-coated aluminum medallions and a plaque to honor the food critic. The medallions will hang from lampposts adjoining the plaza while the third, more elaborate work will be installed in the plaza itself.

The installed plaque bears the following inscription: “The huge number of multiple cultures that live in this city…and the fault lines between them are where you find the most beautiful things.”

View of secondary plaque.

Two aluminum medallions will adorn a pair of lampposts flanking the plaza. (Jen Pope/Los Angeles Mayor’s office) 

The black-and-gold painted plaque features a representation of Gold’s trademark silhouette framed by decorative borders studded with stylized representations of burritos, bowls of ramen, tacos, and pizzas.Elizabeth Timme, co-executive director of LA-Más told AN, “For Angelenos, the sidewalk is our piazza as food trucks are our four-star Michelin restaurants. It’s also a place that represents our cultural attitude surrounding public space.” Timme added, “It is fitting that we honor [Gold] by celebrating something that most people, outside of the city, would overlook and not notice at first glance, because that’s what [Gold] was all about.”

Gold was perhaps best-known for his annual Jonathan Gold’s 101 Best Restaurants list, an eagerly-anticipated ranking of the region’s best kitchens. For many, Gold’s rankings represented a brand of nuanced and open-minded food criticism that matured with the city as its residents worked to embrace a newfound and increasingly-interconnected urban identity.

Close-up view of the LA-Más-designed plaque.

Close-up view of the LA-Más–designed plaque. (Jen Pope/Los Angeles Mayor’s office) 

Remarking upon Gold’s passing, L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti praised the critic as “One of the greatest in L.A.” while adding that Gold was “a man who made L.A. soar, who articulated this moment, who was Los Angeles in many ways.”

Equal parts food critic and cultural historian, Gold was immortalized in the 2016 documentary City of Gold, a film that chronicled his life. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his criticism in 2007. At the time, Gold was the first food critic to win the Pulitzer.

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