In the past four-and-a-half years, Victor Villa has grown his taquero side hustle, Villa’s Tacos, from a backyard pop-up and street stand sensation to a brand new restaurant in Highland Park. After nearly half a decade, Villa’s dream has been realized as long lines of eager fans queued up for an opening bite last weekend.
Villa’s Tacos has long been a local name to know, but the stand gained national fame from a spotlight in season three of Netflix’s Taco Chronicles. Perhaps just as importantly to Angelenos, Villa’s Tacos were the champions of local website L.A. Taco’s 2021 & 2022 Taco Madness tournament, competing against other top Southern California taquerias and earning plenty of street cred along the way.
Villa’s creates a truly Los Angeles-style taco, with all the meats grilled over mesquite and every tortilla made with hand-pressed blue corn masa. The most popular order is the queso taco, featuring melted Monterey jack cheese that’s crispy on the edges. Start with a protein of ranchera asada, chorizo, or grilled chicken leg, or three plant-based options — nopales, black beans or soyrizo. Tacos are then garnished with onion, cilantro, guacamole, cotija cheese, and crema. Choose from six Villa Family salsas, such as mango habanero and jiquilpan to classic roja and verde. Other menu items include a two-tortilla mulita and cheese-less regular tacos, so there really should be something for every eater on the block.
At this weekend’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, Villa was surrounded by his wife, children, and upwards of 300 people waiting to try the tacos. The line wrapped around the building at 5455 N. Figueroa Street and even extended down to Marmion Way. After he felt confident that the kitchen could execute all the orders, Victor Villa started greeting people that were waiting in line with handshakes, hugs, or fist bumps. It was nothing but smiles and tacos on the menu for a sunny LA Sunday afternoon, with the parking lot quickly turning into a tailgate party — complete with a live band. After years of waiting, Victor Villa’s party is now here in Highland Park.
Villa’s Tacos is located at 5455 N Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90042. Hours of operation are 12 p.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday.