Three South Bay eateries landed among the top 50 contenders on an annual list of the country’s 100 best restaurants.
In Gardena, sandwich shop Yo-Way and Mediterranean restaurant The Shawarma Factory took the No. 13 and No. 14 spots, respectively, on Yelp’s annual “Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S.,” and in Torrance another Mediterranean eatery, King Mediterrano, joined the top 50 at No. 42.
The annual rankings, released Tuesday by the consumer review site for the fourth year, included 27 restaurants in Southern California.
David Cathcart who co-owns Yo-Way with his son, Drake, and nephew, Mike, said it’s “humbling to hear” that the family-run sandwich shop made the annual Yelp rankings. The 3-year-old restaurant was started with a focus on providing good customer service, he said.
“It shows, just treat people right and give good customer service and good quality and customers will appreciate what you do,” he said. “With that premise, people want to come back, they feel like their money is going to a place that appreciates it.”
Customers’ online reviews echoed Cathcart’s statements. Many mentioned the friendly staff and fresh food.
“Best sandwiches around, and made by some of the nicest people around!” wrote user Jodi. G on the Yelp page for Yo-Way.
It’s a similar quality that keeps customers coming back to The Shawarma Factory, which opened just eight months ago, said owner Allen Khmous.
“We opened recently and we’re trying to achieve really high customer satisfaction, while at the same time providing high-quality food,” he said.
Patrons of King Mediterrano lauded the restaurant for its food and customer service as well.
“The food was delicious, simple and perfect to pick up during lunch. The service was amazing and everyone is extremely friendly,” wrote Christine C. in an online review.
This year, Yelp changed the methodology for ranking restaurants. The site gave more weight to high-ranking reviews posted in the last year. As a result, a larger number of “hidden gems” and “up-and-coming” venues made the 2017 list, Yelp said.
Yelp said half of the restaurants on the list opened in the past two years, with 14 having opened in 2016. Nearly two-thirds are also fast-casual restaurants.
“Many places in our (2017) list have just hundreds of reviews, but they were nearly all five-star reviews over the course of the past year,” Yelp said.
A year ago, the 2016 rankings were based on performance since Yelp debuted in 2004. With this year’s new methodology, mainstay restaurants with consistently steady 4.5-star reviews over several years were squeezed out.
The No. 1 ranked restaurant in the country is Tony’s Italian Delicatessen, a sandwich shop in Montgomery, Texas. TKB Bakery & Deli in Indio, ranked No. 5, was the only Southern California restaurant to crack the Top 10.
Here are the restaurants in the region that made the 2017 Yelp list:
No. 5: TKB Bakery & Deli – Indio
No. 13: Yo-Way – Gardena
No. 14: The Shawarma Factory – Gardena
No. 15: Corner Grille – Panorama City
No. 20: Tacos Manuel (Santa Ana-based food truck)
No. 26: Rodini Park – Los Angeles
No 33: Locomotive Cafe – Canoga Park
No. 40: Taqueria Mi Ranchito – Sylmar
No. 42: King Mediterrano – Torrance
No. 43: United Rose Deli & Pho – Orange
No. 47: Daddy O’s Rockin Cafe – Upland
No. 50: Tasty Food To Go – Long Beach
No. 61: Sultan Bakery and Grill – Murrieta
No. 63: Appu’s Cafe – Long Beach
No. 65: Crazy Hot Wings – Tujunga
No. 66: Tizon Bistro – El Monte
No. 69: Saigon Beach – Balboa Peninsula, Newport Beach
No. 70: Super Subs – Banning
No. 71: Balam Mexican Kitchen – Lynwood
No. 75: Carnitas El Rey – Oxnard
No. 76: Kobee Factory – Van Nuys
No 77: Mr Kebap – Fountain Valley
No. 78: Shabu Shabu Zen and Sake Bar – Rancho Mirage
No. 80: Dizin Persian Cuisine – Los Angeles
No. 88: NoHo Cafe – Los Angeles
No. 92: Juice Joint Deli – San Juan Capistrano
No. 94: Playground 2.0 – Santa Ana