Let’s not perform Roscoe after the rapper’s murder

The restaurant was almost empty.

a day after horrific shooting death Rapper PNB Rock’s Roscoe House of Chicken & Waffles opened on the 100 block of West Manchester Avenue in South Main Street, but there were few takers.

Except me and one other person.

On Tuesday, televised news vans crowded the parking lot outside the restaurant, which anchors a strip mall with a liquor store. A small temple of candles and flowers was erected against a fence near the entrance. A tall, bald-headed man working as a host or security guard opened the glass door as he approached me and asked, “Pick up or eat?”

I pressed past camera operators and said, “I’d like to dine in.”

The host directed me to table 12, and a server contacted. Rock, whose real name was Rakim Allen, was about 24 hours after he was killed, at 1:45 p.m., in what police described as an attempted robbery for his jewelry.

death of inspirational musical figure from philadelphia a. shouted about series of violent incidents Featuring hip-hop artists in the Los Angeles area, including the local icon’s 2019 shooting death nipsey hustle, Allen’s shooter remained largely.

I have dined at Roscoe several times, but never at this place and not in such hopeless conditions. I came here because, often in the face of tragedy or loss, our instincts in Los Angeles can compel us to gather around comfort food.

Social media chatter since Monday's shooting included claims that Roscoe's location was unsafe.

Social media chatter since Monday’s shooting has included claims that Roscoe’s location on West Manchester Avenue and South Main Street, shown on Tuesday, is unsafe.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Some soul-food experts may tell you that other restaurants or locally grown chains have better chicken and waffles. Still, over the years Roscoe, LA has become synonymous with soul food. It’s especially beloved for its chicken-and-waffle combo, which runs from breakfast time to late night at any of the chain’s eight locations, from Long Beach to Pasadena, as well as frequent celebrity sightings in Hollywood or Midnight. Attracts enthusiastic eaters. – Faridabad.

chain was established in 1975 In Hollywood by Harlem native Herb Hudson in New York City. In an early mention in The Times, from 1984, readers were told of the outpost on North Gower Street: “Even if you’ve never heard of Roscoe, there are some big names; manager Gene Shaw serves his clients Stevie Wonder. , Sugar Ray Leonard, Eddie Murphy and Rev. Jesse Jackson.

In 1996, the late restaurant critic Jonathan Gould described Hollywood Roscoe’s “Carnegie Deli of LA’s R&B scene, a place everyone goes to, mostly because everyone goes there.” He had nasty things to say about the food, but even 25 years ago, Gould felt that Roscoe had become an institution, a canvas for the city’s food culture.

“At the odd hours of the night, hip-hop gangsta and old-time crooners, funkators and nu-jack swing exponents, Roscoe hops with athletes and bodyguards,” Gold wrote. “The pleasant reek of warm artificial maple syrup sometimes announces the presence of a restaurant by more than a block.”

This week, after the initial shock of hearing that a hip-hop artist had been shot inside a restaurant in LA, my mind turned to the cooks and servers who may have witnessed the violence and who may have been hoping Will not lose valuables. subsequent working hours.

“I just wish this didn’t happen here,” said John Carter, shift lead on the floor Tuesday. “It’s not going to stop, because this is L.A. Here things happen. It’s just too much.”

I scoured the menu and went for the waffles with chicken tenders, and added a lemonade iced tea. The staff, peeping out of the kitchen while waiting for my order, were both astonished and relieved that there was anyone there.

Since Monday’s daytime shooting, social media users have criticized the location of this Roscoe, with some arguing that Allen as a non-local would “better go to a restaurant in a community rather than eat”. should go” which is harshly called “dangerous”. And the “ghetto” – located not far from many public housing projects.

Several responses to news about the shooting suggested that Allen’s death could have been prevented if he had dined at a “safe” Roscoe, such as a location on Manchester Avenue in Inglewood with access to or from Los Angeles International Airport. frequented by people.

A small temple was being built in the parking lot outside.

A temple was being built in a parking lot outside Roscoe where rapper PNB Rock was shot dead on Tuesday.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Roscoe did not respond to requests for comment about the online reactions. On Instagram, Chen’s official account posted a photo of Allen with an expression of condolences to his family and fans.

“The safety of our employees and guests is our top priority,” the post said, “We have and will continue to keep our place of business as secure as possible.”

Respondents flooded the post with negative comments.

“Get it out of that hood! Everyone from LA knows it’s a death trap,” one user wrote, a cascade of similar claims is echoing. “Either that or take more steps to protect your patrons.”

In Manchester and Maine, the place usually comes alive on a regular Tuesday, Carter said. But there were no teens or groups of friends, no work-a-day routines and the kind I imagined Rock and his girlfriend would have been before Monday’s fatal confrontation.

Otherwise, the vibe was as artfully composed as locals have come to expect from Rosco’s brand: a single, pink neon tube’s perimeter stands at the edge of the roof; A framed photo of former President Obama hung near the cash register, in which he was seen waving widely outside the chain’s well-worn Pico Boulevard location. A soundtrack of beloved R&B classics is played at volumes above background-level but agreeable to a soul-food space.

My plate arrived, as reliable as Roscoe’s itself. A disc of relatively thin waffles, crowned with a dollop of buttercream. Three tenders wrapped in crunchy, slightly sweet fries. A plastic glass of lemonade and ice, with a wash of brown iced tea floating over it.

Rosa Miller, 60, was the only other diner in Manchester and Maine Rosco besides our writer.

Just 24 hours after PnB Rock was shot and killed, Rosa Miller, 60, was the only other diner to have lunch in Roscoe, Manchester and Maine.

(Daniel Hernandez / Los Angeles Times)

As I ate, Carter shuffled around, placing chairs at tables, sit-downs, as if the restaurant was closing. It didn’t look like anyone else would be coming. He added that the place usually closes at 8 pm, much earlier than other places.

His best seller? Obama Special: Three wings served with waffles, potato salad, and french fries.

“All of our employees — the cooks, everyone — have been working here for 10 years or more,” Carter said. “It is going to take time, but it will return to normal. It’s going to take a long time.”

The only other eater besides me was 60-year-old Rosa Miller, who wore purple hair and walked in with Walker.

Miller told me, “I just came to pay my respects to the young man, because they are our next generation, and this has to stop.” “The violence has to stop, because you can’t even go out to eat.”

She said: “I had chicken and waffles, and it was good too.”

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