Starting your morning at Handsome Coffee Roasters or somewhere nearby in the Arts District neighborhood? Even if you aren’t, it’s worth it to drive out of your way to pick up breakfast from Guerrilla Tacos. Chef Wes Avila sets up shop right next to Handsome with a couple of tables, burner, frying pans and a tent for a few days each week, offering an ever-changing menu.
Even with just a simple set up on the street, Wes turns out amazingly flavorful and inventive dishes—his background in fine dining and culinary degree really shine through. Upon completing culinary school, he worked under Walter Manske at Le Auberge Carmel in Carmel-by-the-Sea. For the past four years in Los Angeles, he’s been working with chef Gary Menes at Palate Food and Wine, Marche, and Le Compoire.
“I was between a rock and a hard place,” Wes told us of starting Guerrilla Tacos when another restaurant was relocating, “It was either start over and work for another chef or start my own thing. I chose to start my own thing.”
His experience working in fine dining motivated him to do something of his own without any pretense, and to Wes, the most unpretentious food in the world is street food. He had discovered while working at Le Comptoir that he really enjoyed interacting directly with his clients. “I liked seeing them enjoy my food right on the spot,” Wes explained, “I figured why not give it a shot. Tacos are also my favorite food to eat—who doesn’t like eating tacos?”
And so far, he’s been right! He has a steady stream of visitors each day who enjoy the spontaneity of his menu, which is often influenced by his past and current dining experiences and availability of ingredients. When his clients make special requests, he’s always up for the challenge! It’s guaranteed that you’ll find at least one vegetarian option each day, and fried eggs in the mornings.
Wes tweets daily updates on his hours and menu. We’ll be going back again as soon as the spigarello (an ingredient we hadn’t even tried before!), bacon and egg taco makes an appearance. If you’ll be joining us on Friday evening for Handsome’s one year anniversary block party, Wes will be serving tacos there too!
Wes is wearing the Thatcher in Striped Sassafras.
Photos by Collin Hughes