On The Menu: Villa’s Tacos in Highland Park making its mark in a city with thriving Mexican restaurant scene

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LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Villa’s Tacos in Highland Park is a spot that has received a ton of attention in a short amount of time.

With taco stands on almost every corner of Los Angeles, Villa’s Taco has worked hard to show that they are not just like every other taco restaurant. They’re a unique place with many awards.

“In a city where there’s tacos on almost every block, there’s only one Villa’s Tacos – and now there’s two,” said the chef and owner, Victor Villa.

Chef Villa started this taco business in his abuelita’s front yard six years ago.

It’s a simple menu of handmade blue corn tacos. You can order a classic Taco, a Queso Taco served with a delicious cheesy base, or the Mulita, which has all the favorite fillings sandwiched in two tortillas.

The most popular order is their Villas Trio. The plate comes with three queso tacos, each made up of different ingredients. It includes tacos made up of potatoes and chorizo, black beans and chicken, and carne asada.

The Vegan Trio is also a best seller. The plate also includes three different tacos, giving customers a chance to try a little bit of everything. Those are beans and cactus, beans with potatoes and soyrizo with potatoes.

“I termed the phrase ‘Tacos Estilo Los Angeles’ because these tacos are a representation of how I view myself,” said Villa. “I’m Mexican, my blood is Mexican, but I was born in Los Angeles, just like my tacos.”

In almost every taco you’ll see the traditional toppings of onions and cilantro. But to complete the dish, Chef Villa adds some cotija cheese, a big spoonful of chunky guacamole, radish and lime.

Villa has always loved to be in the kitchen. He said his secret has always been to incorporate his family’s recipes and cook with love like his grandma taught him.

“She would tell me, ‘Mijo es porque le puse mucho amor,’” said Villa. “She would tell me I put a lot of love in there. So that’s the secret to great cooking and that’s also our secret here.”

These tasty tacos have earned Villa’s Tacos many awards including the highest honor for food, with a spot on the Michelin Guide. But Villa said the biggest award is winning the heart of the city he loves.

“It feels amazing you know. That’s why we do this. That’s why we work so hard. That’s why we put so much love in our food, in our service,” emphasized Villa.

The journey has been long and hard, but worth it in the end.

“When I was at my all-time lowest, when I would go home with less money in my pocket than I started the day with, after working 18 hours to my wife, to my daughter, to my 1-year-old daughter, to an empty refrigerator. I didn’t really have anything other than my will to keep on going,” he explained.

You can find Villa’s Tacos in Highland Park and now the Grand Central Market located in Downtown.

But the expansion doesn’t stop there. Chef Villa is a lifelong Dodgers fan, and his next goal is to open a restaurant in Dodger Stadium.

Beginning Monday, April 8, both locations will be open seven days a week.

Villa’s Tacos is located at 5455 N Figueroa St. and is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Thank you Margarita for the submission to ABC7’s On The Menu. Go here to submit your favorite restaurant.

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