Name of restaurant: Magic Restroom Café.
Owner: YoYo Li is a first-time restaurateur from China who was debating between opening a boba shop and a toilet-centric restaurant. She settled on the restroom theme after witnessing its success in parts of China and Taiwan.
Chefs: The chefs are Taiwanese and have been cooking for nearly 30 years.
What dish represents the restaurant and why? It’s a toss-up between the magic curry rice ($9.95) and the ground pork with rice ($7.95). The reason why is rather crude, but it’s all in good humor. Both dishes come in a toilet-shaped bowl. We’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Concept: The concept is entirely inspired from Modern Toilet Restaurant in Taiwan. It’s a gimmicky theme but has been so successful that there are more than a dozen of these eateries in Taiwan alone. Magic Restroom is not related to the Taiwanese chain, but the idea is the same. You eat from toilets while sitting on toilets. The porcelain restroom-themed bowls are all purchased from Japan. The toilets come in two types: standard Western or squat. (At bathrooms in Taiwan and China, the squat toilet is the norm. While Western-style varieties are available in some places, they’re a clear minority.) The food is standard Taiwanese fare. Think stinky tofu, oyster omelets, beef noodle soup and fatty pork over rice.
Who’s at the next table? Young Chinese and Taiwanese locals who rushed over the moment they heard such a restaurant existed in Los Angeles.
Appropriate for ... : A fun meal with friends who can take a good joke. Bring a camera.
Uh-oh: The concept is potentially gag-inducing if you think about it too much.
Service: They just opened so details are still being ironed out. The grand opening is scheduled for late October. There’s a sufficiently bilingual staff and they’re actively encouraging customer feedback.
What are you drinking? A cold black tea that rivals the quality of nearby tea lounges. The beverages are not overwhelmingly sweet – a rare and good thing.
Info: 18558 Gale Ave, No. 222, city of Industry, (626) 664-3766. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.