The gestation time between pop-up or food truck and brick and mortar restaurant just keeps getting shorter and shorter. Only a few years ago, teams like Alma or Starry Kitchen or the Komodo truck would have to wait around for quite a while, holding dinners or serving curbside, building up a clientele before going permanent. Not so with Vaka Burger, the East L.A.-running burger truck from chef Aaron Perez, which is looking to debut this late Spring or Summer in Boyle Heights.
According to LA Magazine, Perez is ready to go solid with his own storefront, despite Vaka Burger being on the road for what has felt like only months. Not that the burgeoning burger operation hasn’t found a dedicated customer base. Vaka was among the more popular trucks in 2014, offering grass-fed burgers, truffle fries, and cheffed up duck confit grilled cheeses, so it makes plenty of sense for Perez to trade on that goodwill by opening up a full-on restaurant to escape the still-crowded truck market.
And where will said storefront land? Boyle Heights, of course. Perez grew up in the neighborhood, and wanted to return to the rapidly changing neighborhood His slightly renamed Vaka Express will be sliding into Ramirez Liquor, the gigantic (yet somehow mostly hidden from folks outside of Boyle Heights) craft beer and liquor warehouse on Olympic Blvd., which itself is less than a year old. Think of it as a Standing Room, but for East L.A.
There’s no official word on an opening date, as Perez and his business partner Esmeralda Sanchez continue to work with the city to get the go-ahead. But look for Vaka Express to offer a slightly more expanded menu to craft beer heads and Boyle Heights denizens sometime in the coming months. Can’t wait that long? In a slightly ironic move, they’re doing a few private pop-up dinners in anticipation of the eventual opening. Everything ends at the beginning.
2765 E. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA