Amid a looming recession, five of Los Angeles’ best taco tables are battling to unlock new locations

Are tacos slack-proof?

Although the food is expensive Going upstairs 11 percent in just one year and the cost of beef, chicken and seafood, which is up as much as 16 percent, L.A.’s brave Takeru continues to answer the call of Taco Live in Los Angeles.

Sonoratown, The Goat Mafia, Los Originales Tacos Árapes de Puebla, Tacos y Birria La nica and Mariscos Jalisco recently opened new locations.

“The pandemic was a real horror, but the survival instinct kicked in, and I knew the show had to go on,” Sonoratown co-owner Jane Feltham told LA TACO. They were about to sign a second location in Englewood before the owner became “unreasonable and speculative about the rent”, forcing her and partner Theo Diaz to withdraw from the deal. “I think I got the lesson that eating out was a really important way to get our food to people. The focus on eating out (especially on high-volume orders) has finally made us profitable during the pandemic.”

With a focus on new dining as a priority, her second two-week-old restaurant happened downtown after she literally took a protractor to plot the radius of the second location with a map. “From that little frontage, we could have hit many L.A. neighborhoods and I didn’t know much about downtown, but I thought if it didn’t take us downtown, surely one of these other pockets.” Feltham’s reasoning proved worth the adventure. Their sales were consistent and “substantial,” mostly from its supportive neighbors, a mix of blue-collar workers and city employees. “It’s important to me that Sonoratown serves a diverse group of people, so it’s a pleasure to be able to do this in two locations now.”

Goat Mafia’s first ever exterior window, ten years later. Image via The Goat Mafia.

In south-central, 11 miles away on El Faro Plaza, The Goat Mafia will finally open its doors to its first brick-and-mortar location since they sold one of Los Angeles’ first birria quesatacos in 2012. “As an immigrant to this country, whether it’s stagnant Or not, Juan Garcia, founder of Taquero and leader behind The Goat Mafia, tells LA TACO.For a decade, Garcia and his “give me a goat or give me death” philosophy toward birria have only been through pop-ups and, more recently, Smorgasburg LA. He couldn’t have been happier And he’s not worried about inflation, mainly because he recently acquired a steady supply of halal goat meat raised in California for Beria. Until this new offering, Garcia had problems getting quality goats.” Our location in Alameda will now be there to continue Preserving the tradition of Beria goats.

“Expansion is always on our minds.” Raul Ortega from Mariscos Jalisco

For Yasmaní Mendoza, founder of Tacos y Birra La nica, their decision to open their second truck downtown came from a poll they posted on their Instagram account, which has 164 thousand followers. “We decided to open downtown because we have a lot of clients that come from West Los Angeles and the surrounding communities,” Mendoza says. He shares that they’ve seen a drop in sales and customers in the past two weeks, but they’re still going and doing their best to resist the urge to increase prices. Chrissy Teigen Certified Beria Molitas. “We don’t want to be those foods that people say, ‘Oh, they’re expensive, so we’re not intentionally raising prices to keep tacos affordable during these tough times. ”

Taco de Perea from La Nica.
Taco de Perea from La Nica. Image via La nica.

Three weeks ago, Los Originales Tacos Árabes de Puebla also headed west to the intersection of La Cienega and Sawyer in search of more hungry customers to try the regional tacos. Arely Villegas, who operates the food truck with her parents and brother, told LA TACO that the West Los Angeles location has been coming for a long time. “I’ve been going to art shows in that area for ten years, and I knew I’d always want to come back, so I finally convinced my parents to do it.” According to her brother Alfredo, this move was necessary to offset the gradual loss of clients at the Boyle Heights location. Arely shares, fortunately, that the diversity of clients has helped her get her family-owned taquería even as the overhead prices skyrocket. But newfound success came with new operating costs for driving a food truck through town, including new costs to fix anything broken and gas. “What else can you do? We push through it all just like everyone else.”

Raul Ortega, founder of Mariscos Jalisco, is reaping the benefits of being one of the first taco trucks to head west into downtown last year. “So far, our customers still go out for tacos. I guess at the end of the day. People will eat tacos because they know it wouldn’t cost them more than a hundred dollars for a full meal as if you were going to a restaurant.” Ortega showed no signs of stopping, with four sites in operation and two more trucks ready for the shrimp taco quest once he finds enough staff to run it.

“Expansion is always on our minds.”

Editor’s note: Interviews were conducted in Spanish and translated into English. Make sure to check each Instagram account to confirm their presence before visiting.

Sonoratown: 610 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

goat mafia: 4433 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90058 (inside the El Faro Plaza swap meet)

Los Originales Tacos Árabes de PueblaLacinega and Sawyer Corner

Taco y Beria la Unica: 5871 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019

Mariscos Jalisco: 1830 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

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