Cluck, Yeah! L.A. Hidden Gems for Year of the Rooster

"Mr. Rooster" by Etam Cru | Photo courtesy of Birdman Photos, Facebook
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The rooster has been an important symbol in cultures around the world for centuries, from Christianity and Judaism to Buddhism and Hinduism, and as a symbol on flags, coats of arms and for sports teams. According to the lunar calendar, the Year of the Fire Rooster started on Jan. 28, 2017 and ends on Feb. 15, 2018. In a diverse metropolis like Los Angeles, roosters both real and imagined can be seen everywhere. Read on for the best places to see roosters in L.A.

"Mr. Rooster" - Flower District

In December 2015, Polish street artists Sainer and Bezt (aka Etam Cru) created Mr. Rooster, a huge mural located at 8th and Wall Streets in the Downtown L.A. Flower District. A co-production of Thinkspace Gallery and Branded Arts, the six-story mural depicts a rooster perched on the shoulder of a young boy, who is looking down 8th. Incredibly, the mural was painted freehand and completed in less than a week.

Year of the Rooster Collection - Japanese American National Museum

Bobbing head rooster at Japanese American National Museum
Bobbing head rooster | Photo courtesy of Japanese American National Museum

Located in Little Tokyo, the Japanese American National Museum (JANM) promotes understanding and appreciation of America’s ethnic and cultural diversity by sharing the Japanese American experience. The JANM store offers books, DVDs, clothing, jewelry and unique gifts. Culturally themed items include a samurai sword umbrella, tea sets, origami kits and Japanese holiday products. The store's Year of the Rooster collection includes a bobbing head rooster, tea cup, t-shirt, and an origami book of Chinese Zodiac and mythological creatures.

ATTACK OF THE GIANT ROOSTERS

Giant rooster at Imperial Poultry in Downtown L.A.
Photo courtesy of Imperial Poultry

You're not dreaming, that's really a giant rooster standing atop Imperial Poultry in Downtown L.A. And yes, that's another one on the roof of Superior Poultry in Chinatown. Several more can be found at L.A. County chicken stores from Koreatown to San Pedro. All of the eight-foot tall roosters were made in Venice by International Fiberglass, which produced thousands of giant figures for roadside attractions and advertising icons from 1963 to 1974. The most famous of these sculptures were known as Muffler Men.

CHICKEN BOY

Chicken Boy in Highland Park
Chicken Boy | Photo courtesy of Buz Carter, Flickr

One of the Muffler Men, a Paul Bunyan, lives on as the famous Chicken Boy in Highland Park. The 22-foot-tall statue was originally perched atop the namesake fried chicken restaurant in Downtown L.A., on Broadway (Historic Route 66) between 4th and 5th Streets, near the Grand Central Market. The iconic statue stood there from the 1960s until 1984, when the restaurant owner died. After persistent efforts, the statue was saved by art director Amy Inouye, who placed it in storage until a suitable location could be found.

Over 20 years later, Inouye relocated her design firm to a commercial space on North Figueroa Street (also Historic Route 66). In October 2007, Chicken Boy was installed on the rooftop of Future Studio Design & Gallery, and once again beckons travelers along the Mother Road. The Chicken Boy Shop and Future Studio Gallery are open on Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.

5558 N Figueroa St, Highland Park
323.254.4565

Blue Rooster Art Supply

Blue Rooster Art Supply in Los Feliz
Photo courtesy of Blue Rooster Art Supply, Facebook

A favorite of the Los Feliz neighborhood since opening in 2003, Blue Rooster Art Supply is "run by artists for artists." Blue Rooster is praised for its knowledgeable and helpful staff, extensive selection, and reasonable prices. Blue Rooster offers classes that are open to artists of all skill levels, from a weekly figure drawing class (Sundays 1-3 p.m.) to a four-part course on learning to use oils. A one-day screening workshop is held the last weekend of every month. No experience necessary, just bring anything you want to print on - paper, clothes, wood, glass, it's up to you!

4661 Hollywood Blvd, Los Feliz
323.302.5613

The King’s Roost

Backyard chicken workshop at The King's Roost
Backyard chicken workshop | Photo courtesy of The King's Roost

Now that it's the Year of the Rooster, you can still make good on resolutions like learning something new in L.A. A self-described “former corporate PR guy,” Roe Sie shares his wide range of knowledge with DIY enthusiasts and urban farmers at his Silver Lake store, The King's Roost. Sie offers everything you'll need to keep backyard chickens, brew your own beer, bake your own bread, make your own soap, and much more.

3732 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake
323.426.9769 

The Rooster Truck

Rico Suave breakfast burrito at The Rooster Truck
Rico Suave | Photo courtesy of The Rooster Truck, Facebook

The Rooster Truck is the brainchild of Rouha Sadighi, whom many will recognize as a competitor on Cutthroat Kitchen and Chopped. The Rooster website notes that "[Sadighi's] love is brunch and more importantly an over medium egg. It's what she does." With the slogan "Making Breakfast Dope Again," Sadighi shows that love in favorites like the Rico Suave, a hearty breakfast burrito with egg, bacon, tater tots, avocado, cheddar-cotija cheese blend, molcajete salsa and cilantro crema packed into a flour tortilla. The Bodega is a "kick ass breakfast sandwich" with egg, bacon, molten cheddar and "Kill Sauce" on a soft ciabatta bun.

By auspicious coincidence, The Rooster's one-year anniversary fell on the first day of the Year of the Rooster. To celebrate, the truck parked at the same spot where it launched a year ago, Blue Bottle Coffee on Abbot Kinney in Venice. For location and hours, check The Rooster website and @theroostertruck on Instagram.

Red Rooster Bakery

Blueberry muffin at Red Rooster Bakery
Photo courtesy of Red Rooster Bakery

Housed in a small gray building on Pico Boulevard, Red Rooster Bakery supplies Westside customers like Cafe Brentwood, Brentwood Restaurant and Lounge, Capo, Cora’s Coffee Shoppe, Dogtown Coffee, Pono Burger and more. Specialties include rye, country, sourdough, olive and other artisanal breads, as well as bagels, baguettes, croissants, muffins, scones, pastries, crackers, breadsticks and more. The bakery is helmed by Bruce Marder, founder and chef of the Foodco West group of restaurants. In addition to supplying Marder's restaurants, Red Rooster's offerings are sold to the public from a tiny counter fronting the industrial kitchen. Note that their goods sell out quickly, so the earlier you get there, the better.

1013 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica
310.399.1033

Huy Fong Foods

Sriracha bottles at Huy Fong Foods
Sriracha bottles | Photo courtesy of Huy Fong Foods, Facebook

Launched in Chinatown in 1980, Huy Fong Foods bottles its ubiquitous Sriracha hot sauce, featuring the signature rooster logo and green cap, at a 650,000 square foot facility in Irwindale. The rooster logo was inspired by founder David Tran, who was born the Year of the Rooster on the Vietnamese Zodiac. The family-run company hosts public tours on select weekdays and open house events on Saturdays for a few weeks during the annual chili grinding season. The Rooster Room gift shop sells everything from rooster logo t-shirts, boxers and onesies to coffee mugs, glass clock and a Kidrobot 8" Dunny.

4800 Azusa Canyon Rd., Irwindale
626.286.8328

FARM SANCTUARY

"Rod Stewart," a rescued Polish crested rooster at Farm Sanctuary
"Rod Stewart," a rescued Polish crested rooster | Photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary, Facebook

Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming and encourage a new awareness and understanding about farm animals. There are three sanctuaries, including a 26-acre hacienda ranch located in Acton, about 45 minutes from Hollywood. At any given time, Farm Sanctuary is home to 100 cows, pigs, chickens and other farm animals. On Saturdays and Sundays, they open their barn doors to visitors for one-hour tours. Group tours are available by appointment.  

Farm Sanctuary operates the country’s largest farm animal rescue and adoption network. Since 1986, nearly 3,000 needy farm animals have been given a new beginning. Animals featured on Farm Sanctuary’s National Farm Animal Placement Board are in urgent need of safe, permanent adoptive homes. The listings are categorized by species, including chickens and roosters in California. The Farm Sanctuary website also has numerous farm animal care guides for free download, including Large-Breed Chickens and Non-Cornish Breeds. 

5200 Escondido Canyon Rd, Acton
661.269.5404