The new owners of Echo Park’s Chango Coffee are preparing for a week-long renovation that will transform the interior and menu of the corner coffee house. But it’s a recent change to the outside of the cafe that has attracted the attention of neighbors and customers after a mural depicting a pair of fighting cocks was whitewashed earlier this week. The new co-owners of Chango – Jenna Turner of Susina Bakery & Cafe and Marc Gallucci of Fix Coffee in Elysian Heights – commissioned a street artist known as Axis to paint a mural to replace the fighting cocks. Turner said the final design of the new, Art Nouveau inspired mural still has yet to be completed but it will wrap around the exterior of the brick storefront and extend into a wall inside the cafe. “It’s going to be a gorgeous piece of art,” Turner said.
But, mindful of the outcry over the proposed cover up of another Echo Park mural, Turner said there are plans to create some references to the fighting cock mural and Chicken Corner, which is the nickname for the intersection of Echo Park and Delta avenues. The former owners of Chango also faced criticism when they destroyed a previous mural – yes, it also had a chicken theme – when they installed a new cafe window in the same wall.
Turner, who took over the cafe at the beginning of the year, is trying to walk a fine line between upgrading the food and interior of the scruffy but highly visible Echo Park coffee house without going too upscale. After a planned, week-long closure that will begin on Sunday afternoon, Chango is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, March 24 with all new interior – including more seating and electrical outlets – and a new menu,with expanded breakfast meals, sandwiches and vegetarian and vegan options. The name will remain Chango, at least for the time being.
“I don’t want it to be a high-end coffee house – I want it to be a neighborhood coffee house,” Jenna said.
- Chang-e-o. Chicken Corner