Free to Be Gluten Free

Twins Miki and Radha Agrawal to bring Wild alternative pizzeria to the Ogden this summer

onken130403wild125.jpgFull disclosure: I know New York restaurateur Miki Agrawal from my Cornell days. She and her twin sister Radha studied business and communication, and I food and beverage. So cosmic intervention can be the only explanation how, for the second time in my life, I?ve been walking down a street and bumped into them right when we needed one another. I know it?s fate, because it?s happened before.

The first serendipitous sidewalk summit happened on Hollywood Boulevard the summer before my senior year in 1999. I was a relative loner, but they thrust me into Los Angeles?s social scene, with all manner of shenanigans ensuing. (The Agrawal sisters are like that; things just happen around them. I think they?re made of magnets.)

On this day, I was just strolling Downtown, pondering yet again whether I would eat at The Beat, Le Thai or Park on Fremont, when I literally ran right into them, and confirmed the best news ever: Miki?s restaurant, Wild, is slated for a late-summer opening at The Ogden. (Radha is a partner in the restaurant, as is Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.)

They peppered me with questions: Is this area really as cool as everyone is saying? Is now a good time? What do you think? I tried to satisfy them with one answer: ?Just open already! We need more choices?and healthy ones.?

They looked relieved.

The Agrawals hope to open Wild in late July or perhaps mid-August in Suite 1, facing Ogden Street. The space is being transformed into a shabby-chic juice bar, build-your-own salad bar and gluten-free, alternative pizzeria, open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night. Food will be locally sourced where possible, and mostly vegan or vegetarian. Mini cowbells alert staff that you need something, and an overhead pulley system (think laundry line) lets you send messages down the bar (yes, beer, wine and spirits) to that cute lacto-ovo-vegetarian four seats down. As it goes with Downtown Project-supported ventures, many of Wild?s tables are communal, hopefully sparking those fabled ?serendipitous collisions??not unlike my repeated meetings with the Agrawals.

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