Guerrilla Tacos: The Best of Los Angeles on a Tortilla
Guerrilla Tacos is a special kind of place. An Only in LA place where all the ingredients that go into making this city so wonderful -- the diverse cultures all living together, the quality of the food we have available to us -- get served up on tortillas.
“Tacos are the best vehicle to cook anything you want,” says Chef Wes Avila. “They’re the perfect size. It’s less than a full plate of food so you’re not committing to it, and you can try several different kinds of things. Anything can be put on tortillas.”
Chef Avila started serving tacos from a folding table and a portable stove in 2012. He had no food license, and he would sling them anywhere he could get away with before the cops would chase him away (hence calling his place Guerrilla).
He had trained with Alain Ducasse in Paris and was working in some of the best restaurants in the city before setting out on his own, and the rumors of a pedigreed chef and his tacos began to build as the line around his table began to grow.
Jonathan Gold started hanging out, and the two became friends, finding common ground in their gripes about the Dodgers. The card table became an unlicensed taco truck, then a licensed taco truck, and then a review by Gold put the whole thing over the top.
“I knew I was making a good product, but how crazy it got with Jonathan’s review surprised me,” smiles Chef Avila.
Guerrilla Tacos now stands at the corner of Mateo and 7th in the Art’s District. The interior design by Do Good Work Corp is boldly Los Angeles, and the food is as good, if not better, than it has ever been.
Chef Avila says the quality comes from a taste testing process. “I surround myself with people whose opinions I trust and I throw a bunch of experimental tacos at them. They’re not afraid to tell me if they taste like shit. But if one of those ten tacos is spectacular, they’ll let me know, and that one will go on the menu.”
The menu is constantly evolving. It’s seasonal, so that Chef Avila can work with the freshest ingredients he can get his hands on.
The sweet potato taco, which has been on the menu since the very start, is sublime. Crunchy, sweet, smoky...it’s out of this world good. Order it, enjoy it, and then don’t be surprised if you find yourself ordering it again.
Chef Avila highlights the drink menu -- helmed by Eric Jordan -- as a perfect compliment to his food. “High quality ingredients, and most of our cocktails are $10. Where else can you find that?”
Jordan concurs. “We’re making $10 cocktails, making them make sense, not breaking the bank. It’s pretty dope.”
The food is outstanding, the cocktails sublime and affordable, and the feel of the place ties it all together. Guerrilla Tacos is one of the Arts District’s most beloved restaurants, and it’s easy to see why.
Written by Abel “Killa Beez” Horwitz | Photography by Jack Stutz