When we founded Hirl five years ago as a locally owned cannery in the cramped confines of a former pupusería, we never dreamed that our modest storefront would change the world. What was originally established as a creative collective intended to vertically integrate both the production and sales of artisanally crafted jams, soon morphed into a bustling, award-winning restaurant that brings in food aficionados from across the world. But despite all our accolades during these whirlwind years, Hirl has managed to stay true to the two tenets of our business:
Using only the freshest, naturally-occurring ingredients on Mother Gaia, and providing meals that are completely unaffordable and unappealing to people who actually live in this neighborhood.
Opening a restaurant is one of the most daunting business decisions a person can make. When you decide to enter an industry where 60% of new enterprises close within the first year, you better be damn sure you know what you’re doing, not just in the kitchen but with the ol’ bean counters too! So here at Hirl, we serve food that you could easily find at Denny’s but with an exotic twist that allows us to mark up the average price of a meal to $34. In the mood for two pieces of toast, a couple of eggs over easy, and several strips of bacon? Then you’ll treasure our open-faced brioche toast with imported ricotta and handmade boysenberry jam, cage-free fried eggs with a dollop of lacto fermented hot sauce, and our signature Bahn Mi pan-fried pork belly. It’s unnecessarily complicated food fit for an 18th-century European monarch or any modern urban dweller uncomfortable making eye contact with poor people.
And don’t forget our signature $8 to-go mason jar of gourmet coffee! Bring it back and you’ll get a $1 rebate for sustaining the sustainability of our sustainable program. On your first visit to Hirl, you’ll probably notice that we don’t serve drinks in plastic bottles or aluminum cans. Unfortunately, these recyclables were attracting residents who collected them en masse in order to supplement their income. Life is far too short to spend your days trudging in the rat race. But with our green viability plan, we simultaneously stay true to our canning roots while also gently nudging the natives away from their relentless focus on capitalism.
Hirl subscribes to the doctrine that nothing is more important than tradition… the tradition of Christopher Columbus, the original gentrifier. Let’s be honest: Who would you rather have sitting at the table next to you? The 102-year-old woman whose father built the very first house on this block thanks to a Spanish land grant? The elderly Japanese-American widower whose home was “bought” by his neighbors during World War II and returned to him after his release from the Manzanar internment camp? Or the actress who plays Sally Draper on Mad Men? Don’t look directly at her! Keep your cool, man. Dammit, I said don’t look at her! God, you’re such a fucking dork sometimes.
We strive for absolute guest satisfaction. There is nothing more important to us than serving our clientele of hip creative types in search of the authenticity that can only come from eating seared polenta cake next door to a wine and cheese shoppe that used to be a piñata store. Since the only hardship they face is the crushing anxiety that their ex-girlfriend will eventually change her Netflix password, we make sure to forge the ultimate rugged dining experience: Baristas who won’t reveal our almond milk-only policy until you verbally go through every single variety we don’t carry. Cramped tables and chairs that were repurposed from scavenged school desks culled out the dumpsters of nearby middle schools. Ridiculously long lines that, if they aren’t already blocking the path for stroller-pushing mothers, are artificially elongated by our unnecessary Line Up™ iPad system. Here at Hirl, you’ll feel right at home… if you pretend your home is a century-old Mexican and Central American neighborhood teeming with the overlooked history of Los Angeles’s working class instead of the suburb you grew up in 20 miles east of Berkeley.
From our humble beginnings selling jam to white people with way too much disposable income, to convincing those same diners that poached quail eggs is a totally normal thing to consume, Hirl has never been about getting bogged down in stasis. When we moved into this barrio, the rent was cheap and affordable for anyone, whether you were raising a family on a minimum-wage income or trying to pass off fruit preservatives as a whimsical luxury good. And although our quirky foodstuff, like the small pox-infected blankets at Fort Pitt, has eliminated most of the generations of families who grew up in this neighborhood, we at Hirl will never forget that our main goal is to serve food that locals have zero interest in eating, even when the demographics of said locals change.
Which is why we’re pleased to announce that in 2015, our revamped menu will be anchored by our lunch special: four tacos and a soda for only $5.