Massively popular East Los Angeles-based barbecue pop-up Moo’s Craft Barbecue is off the streets (for the time being at least) after getting shut down by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health over the weekend. The showdown came out of nowhere just yesterday, meaning there’s a lot that is still unknown for the future of the barbecue series.
Moo’s is run by husband and wife team Michelle and Andrew Muñoz, a couple with local roots but a love for Texas-style brisket, ribs, and links. The pair had been doing underground backyard barbecue pop-ups from their home for some time, but with their increased online presence they began switching things up to work more rotating public events like craft brewery nights or one-off group barbecue cooks alongside others like Kelly’s BBQ or Bartz Barbecue.
Just yesterday Moo’s was readying to run a lunch line out at Angry Horse Brewing in Montebello, but a representative from the health department showed up promptly at the 1 p.m. start time and shut things down before anyone could get any food. Those who were there say they were told that the health department was acting on an anonymous tip, though it’s very rare for business-to-business pop-ups like Sunday’s offsite brewery cook to be targeted by the county health department. Rather, department representatives tend to enforce regulations mostly against daily vendors like Avenue 26 tacos, a big operation that draws hundreds of diners a night to the same block northeast of Downtown.
What’s next for Moo’s remains to be seen. The Muñoz clan is meeting with the health department this week to discuss the issue, but their equipment was not seized — a common tactic by health department officials — and they were not immediately fined.
The enforcement event against Moo’s comes at a curious moment in Los Angeles’s street food history, as Los Angeles City Council only just this month agreed on walking a path towards ultimate legalization legislation for street food of all stripes. While those details are still being discussed, the day-to-day of vendors (some 50,000 illegal operators just in LA County alone) remains in a tense state of flux. As always, anyone can still be shut down at almost any time by the Department of Public Health — even, it seems, when cooking for fans in front of a hip craft brewery out in Montebello.