Highland Park’s pop-up taqueria, Villa’s Tacos, hosted the grand opening of their first brick-and-mortar restaurant Feb. 5 on Figueroa Street. Founder of Villa’s Tacos, Victor Villa, said the restaurant was a long time coming.
“Before I even sold my first taco, the goal was to always have a lot of brick-and-mortars, like a franchise of restaurants,” Victor Villa said. “My main goal was to give this business to my kids and then my grandchildren.”
Victor Villa’s sister, Lizette Villa, said that she has been anticipating his opening of the restaurant since they were kids.
“I just always knew [Victor] was destined to open a brick-and-mortar because that’s been a dream of his for as long as I can remember,” Lizette Villa said.
According to Victor Villa, the business started small as he dished out tacos out of his grandmother’s house. He believed in the potential of the business and he said his key focus was on the ingredients and the product.
“I drew a game plan in my mind of what would be the best taco, from tortilla to meat, to cheeses,” Victor Villa said. “Everything had to be the best.”
Megan Gonzalez, Victor Villa’s wife, said that in the early days of the business, she worked while simultaneously raising their first child. Gonzalez said she started to step back from the business because they would often work too late for her daughter to be there as well. Even still, Gonzalez said she washed dishes for the business until November 2020 when they had their second daughter.
“We would have to take our daughter with us, and she would just be there with us while we were selling tacos. I would do that for a while until it got a little bit too hard because he sells late,” Gonzalez said. “Eventually, when he had his other workers, they were able to help him out more and I was able to take care of our daughter more.”
According to Victor Villa, his previous experiences in business, specifically working on events and parties, helped provide a network that he used to promote his business. Additionally, Victor Villa said he used social media to help Villa’s Tacos spread.
“Making the transition wasn’t too crazy, because I would always be used to promoting myself in one way or another,” Victor Villa said.
Victor Villa said that one of the main reasons Villa’s Tacos has succeeded is due to the support from the local community.
“[They] are all cheering us on, so the race is that much more fun to run with the support of everyone,” Victor Villa said.
Lizette Villa said that this milestone was four years in the making, but the effort and results have been rewarding.
“Food is our love language, and it’s how our family has shown love,” Lizette Villa said. “I’m excited to have that open up to the community and to have an actual place.”
Victor Villa said he dedicated the opening of this restaurant to his late grandfather.
“A special day, for the love and for the tacos,” Victor Villa said.
According to Victor Villa, his plan is to open another brick-and-mortar Villa’s Tacos restaurant in 2023, with the eventual goal of opening several restaurants throughout LA. Victor Villa said that the restaurant is sticking to the same menu items as the pop-up stand.
“The actual restaurant itself isn’t too big, so we have to focus on the menu that we already have,” Victor Villa said. “Maybe in a month or two, [we’ll] add a special of the day.”
To wrap up this taco — Victor Villa said he started with a vision.
“[A vision] not only to compete, but to be the best,” Victor Villa said.
Villa’s Tacos brick-and-mortar restaurant is located on 5455 Figueroa St.
Contact Avinash Iyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.