Khachapuri is a cheese bread that takes many forms in its native Republic of Georgia and goes by names like ajarakan beyond Georgian borders. The savory delicacy is is frequently boat-shaped in Los Angeles, a style known as ajarski. Cheeses and toppings vary, but you’ll typically find fresh-cracked eggs, which cook in the oven, and a finishing spice shower. Khachapuri producers in L.A. are often Armenian or Syrian, but they draw on baking traditions established by the diaspora from people in the Caucasus and Levant. Learn about some of the best versions in Los Angeles.
Additions: Ani Bakery, Art’s Bakery, Gev’s Kitchen, Havlabar, Tony Khachapuri
Subtractions: Adana Bakery & Deli (CLOSED), Rico’s Pizza (CLOSED)
Establishments appear in alphabetical order instead of in order of preference.
Nora Tomassian and husband Paul opened Ani Bakery in 2005, naming their business for an Armenian city and featuring flatbreads. Their round Ajaragan ($11.99) is beautifully crispy and hosts molten queso fresco and two cracked eggs. Boost your ajaragan for just $3 more with sliced sujuk (Armenian beef sausage) or basturma (spiced, air-dried beef).
Simon and Angelia Grigoryan continue to expand offerings at Art’s Bakery, which debuted in 1998 near Glendale’s Adams Hill. They already baked ajarski khachapuri and flaky individual cheese pastries they call khachapuri/börek. Art’s Bakery recently added an Imeruli Khachapuri ($7.99), a supple pancake filled with a mild, savory three-cheese blend: mozzarella, sulguni and California cheese. Art’s Bakery even offers a khachapuri kebab featuring juicy wood-grilled jalapeño beef kebab shrouded with with flaky pastry.
Yerevan native Gevorg Zakaryan runs Gev’s Kitchen, a takeout deli in Van Nuys that features specialties from Georgia and surrounding countries. Khachapuri ($7.23 each) involves buttery pastry coiled around melting mozzarella on wooden chopsticks.
Gohar Muradyan also serves coiled khachapuri at Havlabar, filled with mozzarella-like sulguni cheese, and Megruli khachapuri filled and topped with sulguni. Their baked Imeruli Khachapuri ($14) is a quarter-inch thick, featuring savory sulguni fused with dough.
When I first started frequenting Mush Bakery in 2010, owner Serop Agadzhanyan’s menu was fairly mainstream. The counter space featured staple items like lahmajun, spinach, meat and cheese boerek, tahini bread and maneishe. Ajarski Khachapuri ($15) (previously called Ajarakan) is a football shaped pastry topped with salty cheese gobs. They crack two eggs, which cook minimally in the oven before they dust this baked beast with black pepper and spicy Aleppo pepper.
Haroutioun Geragosian opened an Aleppo bakery in 1948, naming it Old Sasoon Bakery for a village in Armenia that his grandparents left after World War II. His family (and bakery) relocated to Pasadena in 1986. Son Joseph Geragosian now runs Old Sasoon. The family crafts nearly 20 different flatbreads, including a mammoth boat-shaped Khachapuri ($9) topped with a white cheese blend, seasonings, and cracked egg that’s baked to order.
Chef Armen Piskoulian offers Tony Khachapuri at Oui Melrose. House sourdough starter fuels puffy dough. A buttery, pull-friendly three-cheese blend with slight tang that hosts a topside egg yolk. Pastrami Khachapuri ($14.99) features well seasoned house-made pastrami shavings. They also offer versions with soujouk, mushrooms, bacon & chive, cheesesteak, and luxurious black truffle.