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Former Underground Barbacoa Operation in East LA Secures a Space in Boyle Heights

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Expect rare regional Mexican fare at the new outlet of Barba Kush

Lamb barbacoa, menudo, and quesadillas from Barba Kush
Barba Kush has found a permanent space in Boyle Heights
Stan Lee
Cathy Chaplin is a senior editor at Eater LA, a James Beard Award–nominated journalist, and the author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Los Angeles.

Barba Kush, the celebrated secret lamb barbacoa operation in East LA, is now serving its lauded regional Mexican specialties in the former Las Molenderas space in Boyle Heights. Owner Petra Zavaleta previously launched the business out of her family’s East LA home last August and transitioned to a food truck a month later. This first permanent storefront in Boyle Heights opened on April 14.

Expect all of the careful cooking that has made Barba Kush an underground sensation. On the menu is Zavaleta’s greatest hits, like pit-roasted lamb barbacoa served with a garbanzo-laden consommé, quesadillas, and mole de panza enchilada. Made with lamb offal instead of beef, mole de panza enchilada is regarded as one of the rarest menudos in Mexico. All of the lamb served at Barba Kush is sourced locally from Chino Hills.

New to the restaurant’s menu are hearty cemita sandwiches, as well as toasted masa rafts called picaditas, pipian verde with barbacoa, and tacos de cecina. Zavaleta, who has been preparing barbacoa and lamb menudo since she was 10 years old alongside her father, has been catering events in the local Mexican community since 2016.

The restaurant currently serves Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Barba Kush. 2637 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, CA.