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Exploring Union: A New Restaurant Offering Art and Culinary Creativity

Exploring Union: A New Restaurant Offering Art and Culinary Creativity

Lolita Mojica

Tucked away in the Zaferia neighborhood of Long Beach is Compound, a community space where art meets wellness. Their new restaurant, Union, features SoCal Asian fusion cuisine curated by Baryo.

A bright blue, neon sign hanging above the white facade of the space, boldly proclaims, “You Belong Here”. 

The words that hang brightly on the building’s facade boldly proclaim, “You Belong Here”. (Photo by Lolita Mojica)

“If you love connection, community, and want to feel a part of something—this is the space for you,” said founder Megan Tagliaferri. 

Upon entering Compound, one is transported to a sculpture garden with lush greenery enveloping the space that is lined with tables. The outdoor dining area is dark and intimate with soft candlelight flickering on each table. 

The scene is reminiscent of a hideaway somewhere far off like Palm Springs or Joshua Tree. 

Past the outdoor dining area is a gallery that houses an exhibit titled, “Field Study” by Chromasonic.

“Field Study” by Chromasonic is an immersive installation at Compound that explores the relationship between the human body and its environment.” (Photo by Lolita Mojica)

Guests step into a large room where they are met with complete darkness, save for a few walls made of mesh, intertwined, forming a labyrinth of sorts. Various sonic tones match multi-colored LED lights that flicker on and off.  

In the moments of total darkness, guests are encouraged to stand still and pay attention to how their body responds to the changing environment.

“It’s interesting to think about art in the context of wellness,” said Tyler Stroh, who is social media content creator for Compound. “Being a part of something like this excites me as someone who studied art and design.”

Aside from the immersive space, Compound has an indoor dining room that houses another gallery, a full bar, and a marketplace. 

The food menu at Union, curated by chef Eugene Santiago of Baryo, presents SoCal Asian fusion cuisine in the context of fine dining. 

One such offering is an imaginative dish featuring flash-fried kale sprouts on a bed of pureed maple butternut squash, topped with crisp and juicy pork belly (a Baryo specialty) and finely sliced apples.

The savory, sweet appetizer sets the stage for a menu that features other delectables such as chicken bao buns, rib-eye steak, and branzino. 

French fries, chicken bao buns, and ribeye steak are just a few of the items viable on Union’s menu, curated by Baryo (Photo by Lolita Mojica)

With a bar that features a well-curated selection of amarros in addition to cocktails that toe the line between spirit-forward and sweet, Union is on track to insinuate itself as a foodie destination. 

While the community and art space that is Compound has been open for a few years, Union, the restaurant is slated to have its grand opening on Friday, Jan. 26. To learn more, visit their website:compoundlb.org

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