Friday, October 22, 2021

How ‘The Issa Effect’ is Significantly Improving Business at Many LA Restaurants

*“Insecure” creator Issa Rae is reportedly all about supporting local business in Los Angeles. So much so that “the show’s writers weave South LA neighborhoods like Leimert Park, Inglewood, View Park, Windsor Hills, and Crenshaw eateries into the narrative,” writes la.eater.com.

In what’s being dubbed as “The Issa Effect,” businesses are seeing a noticeable increase in revenue after appearing as a location on the hit HBO show.

Eater spoke with a few of the restaurants experiencing this significant bump in sales… peep what they had to say below. 

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HBO’s Insecure
© HBO [Screenshot] Hot and Cool Cafe
Hot and Cool Cafe, Leimert Park

Hot and Cool Cafe owner Anthony Jolly appeared in season three’s “Fresh-Like” episode. The Leimert Park cafe opened in April this year, but wasn’t getting much traffic until Jolly ran into Rae at his local Home Depot. He introduced himself and gave a suggestion. “I told her we needed some support,” says Jolly. “Her people acted quickly and added the cafe to the script. She did her homework too, we were supposed to be open a long time ago. And in the script, she even mentioned that.”

Jolly calls the Leimert Park strip as challenging to find. “It was such a good shout out,” he says. “We’re definitely a destination spot, and we’re getting a lot of support because of the show.”

HBO’s Insecure
© HBO [Screenshot] Worldwide Tacos
Worldwide Tacos

During season three’s “Fresh Like” episode, Rae’s lead character Issa Dee visited Worldwide Tacos in Leimert Park. She also tweeted about the legendary walk-up restaurant when the episode aired. Owner Frederick Sennie almost immediately noticed the surge.

“Right after the show aired, I had seven-hour wait times and people were actually waiting,” says Sennie, who admits that orders typically take anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours to complete.

“We noticed the bump in the first two weeks. I would say a 50 percent increase,” continues Sennie. “At the end of the day, I’m making more money, but people are coming who haven’t been here before. The salmon tacos (which Rae’s character mentioned on the episode), are the more popular tacos now. Even people that have been coming here a long time, they’re going out of their comfort zone and trying different things.”

HBO’s Insecure
© HBO [Screenshot] Insecure/Chef Marilyn’s
Chef Marilyn’s: Queen of Down Home Southern Goodies

Sennie also spoke with chef Marilyn, owner of Chef Marilyn’s: Queen of Down Home Southern Goodies on Crenshaw Boulevard. Even though chef Marilyn’s restaurant facade only appears for a few seconds in season three, she reportedly told Sennie that her sales are significantly up.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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