For years there's been a stand that sets up outside Silver Lake's Thirsty Crow most nights. It's just a card table with a cooler and a few cooking tools, including a small deep fryer that has always made the owner seem a little nervous — rightly so, as drunk people and vats of boiling oil do not mix well.
The stand, which never appeared before nightfall, was called Takuma's, and it's been a favorite of carousers since it first started setting up. The side dishes aren't anything special, just frozen stuff from Costco, though arguably there's an art to choosing the items that drunk people will extol later on Yelp. (Mozzarella sticks and waffle fries figure heavily.)
The main item at Takuma's is the burger, which comes in about eight varieties, often with a big handful of arugula and an incongruously expensive cheese. L.A. is a burger town, which has its pros and cons: As a people, we order a ton of them, but we've also got high standards. It's a testament to Takuma's success that not only do people love these sidewalk burgers but the owner's had enough success selling them that he has upgraded his business to a truck, most often parked at The Short Stop.
It's a start-small approach that we're seeing more often as the wealth disparity in this country grows and small-business owners get creative about keeping costs low and avoiding debt.
And the truck has a line most nights — it's not glamorous, but it's an L.A. success story.