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Food

Tacos 1986 is opening a location in downtown L.A., plus a possible diner in the future

LOS ANGELES CA-January 30, 2019: With a larger than life personality, co-owner of Tacos 1986, Jorge
Tacos 1986 co-owner Jorge Alvarez-Tostado stands outside of the taco stand in January. He and partner Victor Delgado will open a restaurant in downtown L.A. in June.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

Tacos 1986, the pop-up taqueria known best for its guacamole-smeared mushroom tacos and charismatic taquero, is opening in downtown L.A. near the corner of Spring and 6th streets. Owners Jorge Alvarez-Tostado and partner Victor Delgado say they plan to open the restaurant as soon as possible, but definitely by the end of June.

The two will serve the same menu as the stand, which includes tacos on fresh tortillas, quesadillas, mulitas and vampiros, as well as some well-known off-the-menu items including the perron (a flour tortilla wrapped around cheese, pinto beans and guacamole). Alvarez-Tostado said he also wants to introduce tostadas to the menu.

>>Review: Thanks to a larger-than-life taquero, Tacos 1986 is having its moment

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“I would love to just hear that crunchiness,” Alvarez-Tostado said. You can frequently catch him on the sidewalk wielding a knife, patting the trompo and making kissing noises at the customers and at the sizzling meat. “No more kisses,” he jokes. “It’s more like crr crr crr.”

LOS ANGELES CA-January 30, 2019: The carne asada quesadilla from Tacos 1986 at their Koreatown locat
A carne asada dish from Tacos 1986.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

The tiny restaurant will have an open kitchen and no seating. Customers will order at a counter and then can eat their tacos at a small counter area or outside. This is not a structural oversight: The tight quarters and direct interaction at the register are an attempt to maintain the lively energy of the taco stand and to keep the dialogue with customers lively.

“Those 30 seconds when you order are for you only and no one else,” Delgado said. “We know that being inside a bricks-and-mortar might limit certain things that a stand created for us like being out on the street, being able to scream at the top of your lungs ‘I’m the greatest,’ but it’s about executing the best quality food, which has been the biggest goal since day one.”

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There will also be no alcohol (nor even coffee) at the restaurant.

“There’s no hanging out talking,” Alvarez-Tostado said. “It’s downtown, so you can get what you want and keep on working, drinking and partying.”

Alvarez-Tostado and Delgado started slinging Tijuana-style tacos in Hollywood in late 2018. They moved the operation to Koreatown, have had pop-ups in Venice, secured a stint at the Sunday Smorgasburg market in downtown and make frequent appearances on the festival circuit, including at Coachella, Stagecoach and at our recent Los Angeles Times Food Bowl Night Market at Grand Park. They plan to remain at Smoragsburg and will continue to do festivals as well.

LOS ANGELES CA-January 30, 2019: With a larger than life personality, co-owner of Tacos 1986, Jorge
Tacos 1986 co-owner Jorge Alvarez-Tostado mans the trompo.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

The two say they plan to eventually open multiple locations of Tacos 1986 as well as other “masa-related” concepts.

“By the end of the year, we would love to open up another store,” Alvarez-Tostado said. He also has his eyes on a diner.

“My personal dream since I moved to L.A. is to open up a diner/breakfast spot, but I can’t see it yet,” Alvarez-Tostado said. “It’s just a dream, but like a little Gjusta but with all masa. An open kitchen, breakfast, steamed eggs, bacon on a spit.”

Until then, the two are focusing on their excellent tacos.

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“We’re two Tijuana kids making Tijuana tacos,” Delgado said.

609 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, tacos1986.com.


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