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Meet Ajay Hira of Jesse Boy in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ajay Hira.

Ajay, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Jesse Boy started off as a 10 ft. x 10 ft. pop up at local farmer’s markets in LA. We learned that our food is bomb when we kept selling out week after week. This motivated us to look for a restaurant space to call our own, and so, we decided to open our very first location in the heart of Hollywood!

Chef Jesse is my business partner who trained at a Michelin starred restaurant in the L.A. area. His mom used to make this kind of food for him as a young boy which inspired our flavors as well as the name of our restaurant, Jesse Boy.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, but it’s definitely been an awesome road! We’ve learned so much along this journey and wouldn’t ask for any other way to get here.

We had a planned grand opening in January and the week before our grand opening, we had a new construction project start-up in the center. This project put up fences and blocked off more than half of the parking lot. This definitely made our restaurant look like it was closed. On top of that, this is our first location ever so no one even knew who Jesse Boy was and what kind of food we served. But, we had dedicated our Grand Opening to the Children’s Hospital and in no way were we going to let those kids down! So, we kept our grand opening date, shared with everyone and their moms and did it anyway.

We went on to have our biggest day in sales ever while raising funds and awareness for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. I truly feel this tremendously helped Jesse Boy through the construction period that ended up lasting four months.

All the obstacles we ran into took one action to overcome them, to remember what we believe in. We believe in this restaurant, this team, our food and our commitment to make a difference by giving back to our community. As long as we kept these things in mind, there was nothing that could stop us!

Please tell us about Jesse Boy.
Our restaurant specializes in Korean fried chicken and Korean fried cauliflower and we’re dedicated to creating delicious Korean Inspired Eats for all our guests to enjoy! You will find our restaurant on Santa Monica Blvd. and Vine St., in Hollywood.

We started our menu off with plates that included your choice of Korean fried chicken (wings or tenders) and Korean fried cauliflower (vegan), with sides like jasmine rice, fries and sesame salad. Since we’ve opened, we have expanded our menu with a yummy Jesse Boy Bowl and a scrumptious Korean fried chicken or cauliflower Sandwich as well! Everything is made-to-order and our hand-crafted agua fresca is made daily with seasonal fruit! Of these items, our customer favorite is the Jesse Boy Sammie (Sandwich).

We are a proud supporter of our community and have helped raise funds and awareness for organizations like The United Way, Project Backboard and The L.A. River. Our main community partner is Children’s Hospital Los Angeles because it is a cause that is near and dear to us. We know the kind of impact CHLA has on the community by being such a vital resource for our kids and their families! Where we are today is because of our community and giving back will always be a part of our business model.

Our goal is to bring people together with our great vibes and awesome food. We pride ourselves in having items on the menu for guests of all diets! We have options for vegans, non-vegans and vegetarians to enjoy!

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would not do anything differently. The way this business was created was so unique; from chef Jesse inviting me to his apartment to try the food for the first time, to bringing it to our friends and family at get-togethers so we can see what they think, to lugging around our fryer at local farmer’s markets at 6 am in the morning, to finally finding a space we can not only call our restaurant but Jesse Boy’s home. All the trials and tribulations we went through to get here makes us the entrepreneurs that we are, and it’s what makes us Jesse Boy!

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Image Credit:
@eatwhateveryouwant, @relsreviews, @ryans_lunch_feed, @yasmegyas

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