Mooi, the Echo Park raw vegan restaurant that won some loyal fans but also baffled many customers with unpredictable hours and quirky operations, is changing its name following the departure of its founder Stephen Hauptfuhr, according to people familiar with the business. Workers were in the process today of beginning to change the interior of the restaurant located in the landmark Jensen’s Recreation Center building, where the restaurant windows were papered over. The restaurant is being taken over by some of Hauptfuhr’s partners who are also involved in Millie’s Cafe in Silver Lake. The partners plan to reopen the restaurant at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street next month under a new name but will continue to serve vegan fare – including cooked items – and expanded coffee service.
Only a few months after opening last summer, Hauptfuhr indicated in November that he was looking for partners as he cut regular operating hours. While it was open, Mooi attracted attention not only for its raw vegan cuisine but for some odd practices. For a time, patrons were directed to enter the restaurant through a side entrance and a flights of stairs that lead to a second floor mezzanine overlooking the dining room. From there, the diners walked down a grand staircase to the first floor, where they found menus tucked into copies of Dr. Seuss books.