Moo’s Craft Barbecue, perhaps the best (and most popular) slow-smoked spot in Southern California, has finally found a home. The former East LA pop-up spent years cooking out of Michelle and Andrew Muñoz’s back yard before transitioning to brewery pop-ups, Smorgasburg LA, and (during the pandemic) weekend takeaway service in the Arts District. Now, as it turns out, they’re staying close by.
The new Moo’s will be located just over the river in Lincoln Heights, which has been bustling with restaurant activity in recent months. The restaurant takes over the former Lincoln Kitchen & Tap at 2118 N. Broadway, equipment and all, which means a speedy turnaround and a license to sell beer and wine. The shift comes with a new name, formally at least: Moos Craft Barbecue & Taproom. The Muñoz’s tell Eater that the plan is to get up and running as soon as possible, so they’re targeting a late spring or early summer arrival, at the latest.
As for the space, the steel and wood restaurant offers a parking lot and ample patio seating, so there’s not much need to do anything other than make cosmetic changes. The dual offset Texas-style smokers will stay parked just outside, and the team is working with the city of Los Angeles to hopefully make them available for the opening and beyond. Once up and running, this new Moo’s will keep daytime to early evening hours four days a week, Thursday through Sunday, though much like some of Texas’s best spots, expect the meat to sell out early.
The move to a brick and mortar space is a big one for the Muñoz family, after spending years operating in the quasi-legal pop-up arena. The arrival of a new Moo’s restaurant also means good things for the scene overall, as more and more barbecue operators around Southern California push to make this scene their own, outside of Texas, the East Coast, or the South. Some, like AGL’s Craft Meats in South LA, have been pushing back against the city to use offset smokers in its cooking; others, like Heritage Barbecue in Orange County, have managed to craft an entire restaurant around one. For everyone else in between, Moo’s is a beacon for a better future to come. And for diners eager to get what may be Los Angeles’s best brisket, links, and ribs? Spring is just around the corner.
Want to help the Moo’s team get there faster? The family has just started a GoFundMe page to fuel their final stages, in part because they’re eager to otherwise self-finance the restaurant rather than bring in an investor. The plan, they say, is to make sure that LA’s most legit new barbecue restaurant stays a mom and pop operation the whole way.