Trejo’s Tacos: Hollywood Badass Danny Trejo’s Taco Emporium

All photos by Brandon Rae

Originally posted on California Curiosities

Legendary tough guy Danny Trejo is well known for his storied career with director Robert Rodriguez, and (most importantly) that distinctive mug that we’ve all grown to love. What can’t this man do?

Well kids, in a wacky story that only Hollywood could cook up (pun intended), lies Trejo’s newest notch on the career belt: gourmet taco creator at the newly minted Trejo’s Tacos in Los Angeles. Just look at that sign; badass, beautiful and perfectly mustachioed, just like the man himself. Haven’t even smelled the tacos here and I’m already fully sold on the concept.

So, what inspired one of Hollywood’s most legendary badasses to open up a taco shop? Well, look no further than the encouragement of Mrs. Trejo (aka mom, to Danny) who had dreams of opening up a Mexican restaurant in LA. In the immortal words of darling son Danny himself: “She wanted to open a restaurant and we put it together” Ain’t that simple and sweet?

Finally opening its doors in mid March of 2016— after a much maligned delay of well over a year— the crowds were buzzing on the early afternoon that I stopped by. Lines of people— eager and excited for their taco fix ran out the door, with one in every three of them asking the immortal question on everybody’s mind: “Is HE here?”

Knowing damned well that Mr. Trejo hasn’t asked “Would you like fries with that?” for a few decades, I was already emotionally prepared for a Trejo-less dining experience (though i did hear that he’d stopped by the day before). And while physical Danny wasn’t actually around on that fateful day, his presence was certainly alive and well, but in taco form.

But what the restaurant lacks in a real life Trejo appearance, it makes up for in its unique design and aesthetic. The exterior is slick and modern, standing out amongst the dingy clutter of shops, hardware stores and bodegas on South La Brea Rd. The inside is small, but clean, and has a little bit of a Chipotle vibe, sans the E. coli.

As for the food: apparently Danny has been hiding his secret hobby from us for years because he makes a damned good taco. With a limited grand opening menu only available, there wasn’t much to choose from, but what they had was quite gourmet. The chips glistened in the sun, the pork shoulder tacos brought smiles, the fried tofu squished perfectly and the plates were perfectly garnished with lime and a midget radish.

And I’d be doing this place a disservice to not talk about the merchandise, which seems to be one of the main reasons this place actually exists. There’s quite bit of it in the form of hats, shirts, and coffee (?), all featuring Danny Trejo’s signature scowl in caricature form.

If you ask me, this Danny Trejo/taco combination makes perfect sense and I welcome this kind of trend across Los Angeles. Hopefully we’ll get Ben Affleck Burritos or Sissy Spacek spaghetti in the coming years. Imagine if Tarantino’s Tamale’s opened next door.

Danny, I salute you and your random business ventures. I’d put these tacos on par with that other wacky themed taco shop Tio’s Tacos in Riverside. You’ve come a long way since dying in every Hollywood movie that was ever made.

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