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Pico Boulevard’s New Takeout Joint Hopes to Be the In-N-Out of Hardshell Tacos

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Taco Bar opened in early March with hard and soft shell tacos

Taco Bar
Taco Bar
Courtesy of Taco Bar
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Throughout the decades, the stretch of Pico Boulevard hosted some longstanding black-owned restaurants. Mo Better Meaty Meat’s original location was here, in addition to Meals By Genet, and Wi Jammin. There’s a new place called Taco Bar which opened three weeks ago.

Taco Bar’s opening is truly an LA story. First-time restaurant owners serve non-traditional tacos, and neither are Mexican. They spent 32 months revamping the former locksmith space into a tiny 275 square foot take-out spot. Taking inspiration from the simplicity at In-N-Out, Taco Bar focuses on one dish. They prepare soft or hard-shelled tacos to order with ground beef, ground turkey, shredded chicken, or vegetables.

Cousins JC and Seanie — who prefer not to use their last names — gave out free tacos during the first week of business as an introduction to the neighborhood. “Ours is just a simple taco, and the ingredients are really good,” says Seani. “We cook like we’re making this food for our own family.”

It took two-and-a-half years to navigate through unscrupulous contractors along with the vagaries of city codes and licenses. And while there’s no place to sit, diners can stand and eat at a counter until the permit is approved.

Taco Bar is less than a mile away from the 26-year-old Sky’s Gourmet Tacos. And while they’re very different businesses, JC and Seani join the ranks of other black-owned restaurants — including All Flavor No Grease, and Sky’s — that do their own thing with Mexican ingredients. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., and close on Friday and Saturday at 9 p.m.

Taco Joint. 5815 West Pico Boulevard.