About a year after opening in a nondescript strip mall in Redondo Beach where it earned the respect of the neighborhood for its attention to authentic ingredients and its chef’s culinary pedigree, El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos has moved to a new neighborhood.
The modern Mexican restaurant closed its doors at its 1505 Aviation Blvd. home on Redondo Beach in mid-August and popped up in another small strip mall in Palms on LA’s Westside on Sept. 12.
“I think this was the right move at the right time,” said 32-year-old Ulises Pineda-Alfaro, the chef and co-owner of the restaurant that is now located in a small strip mall at 3500 Overland Ave., in the same corner spot that previously housed Roy Choi’s Kogi Taqueria, which closed in June after four years when its lease expired.
The move came as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic’s chilling effect on business and a rent increase, Pineda-Alfaro said, and while he loved the community, circumstances forced a move or a permanent closure.
Pineda-Alfaro said the plan is to return to the South Bay with a second location of his restaurant within six months. For now he’s looking at Hermosa Beach as a possibility, he said.
El Barrio also stands out thanks to the chef’s background, since before opening his taqueria Pineda-Alfaro cooked at places like Umi by Hamasaku, a renowned sushi spot in El Segundo, Electric Owl in Hollywood and American comfort food spot Plan Check on the Westside.
While the neighborhood is new, the menu is still focusing on the chef’s and his families recipes with dishes including Wagyu brisket beef birria, burritos and tacos as well as huaraches, mulitas and gringas that stand out thanks to details such as using tortillas made with masa from heirloom, non-GMO corn from small family farms in Oaxaca.
“For me, it’s about being family-oriented, not too pretentious, but using really high-end quality products,” he said.
El Barrio Neighborhood Tacos
Where: 3500 Overland Ave.
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday
Information: 4240603-4073 or Elbarriogroup.com