Restaurant News

Steven Arroyo's Escuela Set to Debut This Month

Comments (0)


Thu, Mar 3, 2011 at 2:27 PM
  • Lilliam Rivera/Mondette

After Steven Arroyo served chorizo tacos at last summer's East L.A. Meets Napa event, there was a lot of chatter around the blogosphere about his newest project, Escuela, the small taqueria he planned to open around the corner from the original Cobras & Matadors -- on Stanley Avenue, literally 50 feet from Beverly Boulevard.

As is often the case, the news was a bit premature. The space was nothing but an office before, and they had to build out everything, including a whole kitchen. At the time, Arroyo was at least six months out, not including the usual permitting and code delays.

But with new signage spotted, it looks the day has finally arrived: Arroyo hopes to debut his new breakfast, lunch and late-night taco spot on March 15.

Arroyo's love of Mexican food isn't new. He opened Malo in Silver Lake in 2003, bringing beef-and-pickle tacos to the world. He sold his stake in in the restaurant in 2008, but said he always wanted to open another Mexican spot -- and not just "another L.A. mediocre Mexican spot."

"I grew up in a family where food was celebrated, not just the flavors, but also the textures and colors," says Arroyo. "My mother was a really good cook, and my grandmother had a little taqueria in East L.A. Our food is really personal."

Escuela is tiny, only seating about 20 people. "It's the size of your bedroom," Arroyo told his friends on Facebook. There will be breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and it will stay open as late as the neighborhood allows: he's hoping for 2 a.m. The menu will only have three or four mainstays, plus a few specials; the kitchen doesn't have room for much more.

"There are some really incredible tortillerias around here," Arroyo says. "Too many people do mediocre tortillas with no flavor, but they're making them by hand which is supposed to be better. If we find a good flour or corn tortilla made fresh daily without preservatives, then we'll go with that."

Arroyo dipped his toes in many projects over the years, opening Church & State and then selling to his partners; experimenting with additional outposts of Cobras & Matadors, various spots next to Rita Flora, and South Pasadena's 750ml and the short-lived pizza place that followed, but he still knows longevity. The original Cobras & Matadors celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

Related Content

Now Trending


  • Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar
    Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar, with chef Jason Fullilove at the helm, is in the two buildings at the pier’s entrance that used to be Beachcomber Cafe and Ruby’s Diner. Those buildings, which have been overhauled completely, reflect both the pier’s 109-year-old history and the cultural import of Malibu itself.
  • The Tasting Menu Trend
    In Los Angeles especially, but increasingly across the country, restaurants are either switching to tasting menus, putting a greater focus on a tasting-menu option (while offering à la carte items as well), or opening as tasting-menu operations from day one. The format that used to be the calling card of only the fanciest of restaurants is becoming ubiquitous, even at places where the waiter calls you “dude” and there isn’t a white tablecloth in sight.
  • Milo's Kitchen: A Treat Truck for Dogs
    Milo's Kitchen, a part of California-based Big Heart Pet Brands, is taking its homestyle dog treats on the road this summer with the "Treat Truck." The dogified food truck is making stops all over the country, ending up in New York early September. The truck stopped at Redondo Beach Dog Park Friday morning entertaining the pups with treats, a photo-booth and play zone. Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck offered samples of the line's six flavors, all with chicken or beef as the first ingredient, and all made in the U.S.A. with no artificial colors or preservatives. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.