There’s a handful of South LA restaurant owners that started making food in their homes, and ultimately into a brick and mortar. The likes of All Flavor No Grease and Mr Fries Man made that leap, as well as the popular Taco Mell in Leimert Park. Taco Mell then opened a second location on April 1 in the Lakewood Mall.
The menu is as South LA as it gets, where an LA-based African-American entrepreneur creates Mexican-inspired food. With a play on corporate chain Taco Bell and owner Jermelle Henderson’s first name, Taco Mell has been operating in Leimert Park since 2015 with made-to-order taco combination plates, burritos, burrito bowls.
Taco Mell started when a 21-year-old Henderson had a new daughter. He started making tacos while working a security job in order to make some extra money. Henderson started making tacos for friends, catering in 2011, then opened up Taco Mell on Crenshaw Boulevard. Mell is now 28-years-old and the a popular spot maintains a healthy catering business.
This now brings Henderson’s restaurant count up to three, if you count forthcoming Court Cafe. The nearly completed breakfast and lunch spot is from the legendary South LA restaurant owners Keith Garrett from All Flavor No Grease, Bleu Kitchen, and Henderson. In recent weeks, The Court Cafe hosted ticketed weekend tastings which are typically sold-out, even though the restaurant isn’t officially open yet.
These LA-natives also participate in a food collective called Foodminati. Garrett will also expand eastward this year, with an All Flavor No Grease location in Santa Ana’s 4th Street Market.
Taco Mell’s Lakewood location opened in the Lakewood Mall right next to California Pizza Kitchen. Henderson is in soft-opening mode, but is serving daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m.
Taco Mell. 127B Lakewood Center Mall Lakewood, CA