Chef Jurni Rayne (Courtesy Photo)

The word hospitality has a total of three definitions: the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers, the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way, and the business or act of providing accommodation, food, drink, and other services to guests. Dallas, Texas native Chef Jurni Rayne hits all these key points with her restaurant Gritz N Wafflez in Pico Union. As she continues to serve Los Angeles, Rayne’s impact, and creole-forward menu, will now expand to Korea Town and Leimert Park by year’s end. Rayne focuses on building community inside and outside of the kitchen, while providing genuine customer service to her patrons as well as her staff.

With over 24 years in the culinary business, the chef and restauranteur has spent the last ten years growing her brand and clientele one plate at a time. Rayne is multi-talented. She received a degree in Restaurant Management, double majored in Spanish, and studied abroad in Spain and Costa Rica. In 2005, Rayne began managing notable kitchens and restaurants like Pappadeaux, Chili’s, The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, and AMC Dine-In Theatres, all while recording as a singer and songwriter. Rayne credits the owner of BlaqHaus North Hollywood, and a network of Black entrepreneurs, for inspiring her to join the small group of Black female restaurant owners.

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The original concept for her first establishment was developed in 2019, as Evette’s Bayou, a play on her middle name in conjunction with the 1997 film Eve’s Bayou. The Southern-Creole inspired theme was intended to present elevated down South cooking that tells a story of family and community. Gritz N Wafflez represented the brunch menu at Evette’s Bayou. The weekend breakfast/ lunch idea quickly pioneered Rayne’s ownership in the industry.

Chef Jurni Rayne and Stevie Wonder (Courtesy Photo)

The menu is reminiscent of her childhood and intentionally aligns with the idea that good food comes from good people. Customers can enjoy a classic Shrimp N Gritz or Wingz and Gritz, or the traditional Wingz N Wafflez or mix it up with Shrimp N Wafflez. There is a little bit of something for everyone. The servers, cashiers, and cooks, make the experience worth the wait. Rayne employs young, trustworthy individuals that share the same conviction for service. During a recent interview, Rayne shared, “consistency is really key and we’re big on having the recipes and the energy. I don’t let the cooks cook if they’re in a bad mood. I think what we do is more than cooking, its energy work. Good energy goes into the food.”

By the end of 2024, Rayne is expected to relocate the Pico Union location to Korea Town with the opportunity to expand Gritz N Wafflez. The new restaurant will feature convenient parking, a full bar, and more tables, while the quality of food and service remain. Rayne will also allow her family’s history to shine at the new location with a mural. In addition to Korea Town, Rayne has plans for the Leimert Park area as well.

Celebrities like Maya Rudolph, Kawhi Leonard, and Stevie Wonder have graced the dining area of Gritz N Wafflez; this is only the beginning. This summer Rayne will be hosting restaurant pop ups in New York City at Bread and Stone. Order from Gritz N Wafflez online at, at the Pico Union location 1243 S Alvarado Los Angeles, CA 90006, or over the phone at (213) 568-3382. Follow Chef Jurni Rayne or Gritz N Wafflez on Instagram Gritz N Wafflez (@gritznwafflez) and Jurni Rayne (@jurnirayne).

Gritz N Wafflez Pico Union Location (Courtesy Photo)