Seven years ago, Clyde Kim pulled into Long Beach with his Che Guevara Pig-covered food truck after hearing about the inaugural (and still missed) Promenade Beer & Wine Festival, and like many who come to our way, fell deeply in love and wanted to find a more permanent home for the vagabond eatery known as Rebel Bite.
Little more than half a year later, he leased the space that was once Pizza Pi at the northwest corner of Broadway and Lime and opened his first brick-and-mortar, providing Long Beach continual access to Rebel Bite.
That experiment has officially ended, with Rebel Bite formally closing on June 8.
Kim had long catered to the community surrounding Lime Avenue by keeping price points accessible and the vibe thoroughly communal.
“To be honest, it’s just a sad moment,” said longtime employee Emily Menshek. “We kept prices low because the owner really tried to keep it a neighborhood kitchen, but with the locals moving out—all of the residents along Lime Avenue were our regulars and they’ve all been priced out. It just felt like we were constantly playing catch up trying to court a changing neighborhood.”
Menshek mentioned “old timers waxing poetic” about the space’s occupant of the 1960s, Marri’s Pizza. In this sense, 649 Broadway has always been a home kitchen for the neighborhood and with talks of a sushi place moving in, that vibe may very well change given the conversation of gentrification and the city’s ever-shifting food landscape.
Rebel Bite was, in the vein of Kogi and other L.A. food trucks that built a name for themselves, ahead of the curve: fusing Korean food with American staples; think grilled cheese sandwiches stuffed with Korean barbecue and squid-ink pizza.
And soon is your last chance to experience any of it, should it be around. Menshek believes that, with limited supplies, staying open until June 8 is unlikely.
“Last night, we were down to four beers on tap and a couple food items,” Menshek said. “Unless we get another delivery I can’t imagine reaching that date—but I still encourage everyone to stop by. It’s been a home for not just me but the whole community. I have loved meeting every one of the folks who have walked through the door.”