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Vaka Burger Now Grilling In Boyle Heights, With Grand Opening This Weekend

Soft-open mode is in full effect inside the Ramirez Liquor warehouse.

The Vaka Burger counter
The Vaka Burger counter
Vaka Burger
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Back in February, it seemed that a Vaka Burger Boyle Heights takeover was almost imminent. The popular truck, which debuted in 2013, was pulling off the streets in anticipation of a soon-to-come debut inside of Ramirez Liquor on Olympic, which is a sizable and well-stocked spot for Eastsiders to grab bottles of craft beer. Aaron Perez and his fiancee/partner Esmerelda Sanchez were even putting on pop-up burger dinners around town to build anticipation.

Fast forward a few months, and Vaka is just about ready. Reached by phone, Sanchez says that, as per usual, permitting issues led to a few delays, which should come as no surprise because: 1) this is the city of Los Angeles, and 2) they’re trying to open a burger kitchen inside of an open craft beer warehouse.

Still, all those troubles are behind them now, with the Vaka Burger team announcing on Facebook that they’ll be rocking some soft-opening dates this week. The first night kicks off tomorrow, actually, beginning at 5 p.m., and will carry a for-purchase menu of some of the best-selling burger and fry combos. Take note, though: they’re only doing 150 orders as they train up their staff in anticipation of the upcoming opening date.

And when will that grand opening actually take place? Sunday, July 5. That’s the day customers can really begin to experience the full Vaka Burger phenomenon, as the entire menu will be available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Following Sunday, the burgermakers will be keeping those same hours, seven days a week.

Eventually there are still plans to help segregate Vaka Burger a little bit more from their Ramirez Liquor counterparts, by adding a separate entrance and full seating. For now, think of the operation as something akin to Boyle Heights’ own Standing Room. As for Sanchez and Perez, they’re just happy to be open and able to serve.

Vaka Burger Express
2765 E. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA