It all started in the Sugar Shack in the Hollywood Hills, when a sisterhood of young women including singer/actress Christina Milian and Louisiana native Elizabeth Morris had sweet dreams of their futures. They drank a lot of wine, shared hopes, dreams and some tears over the road ahead. It led them to Louisiana right after Hurricane Katrina, where they spent months helping rebuild homes and neighborhoods. That was the birth of Beignet Box.
The two longtime friends and roomies debuted their food truck in Tiger Stadium in Louisiana in 2018 and things just went bonkers after that. Two months later they brought the pink and green coach back to L.A., and have since developed a cult following that includes visitors from across the state as well as Beyoncé, Will Smith, Harry Styles, David Spade and people strolling down Ventura Boulevard.
“Two of the biggest factors of being a Cuban woman is food and music, which are obviously two things I love the most,” Milian tells L.A. Weekly from the truck parked outside the former Fox Studio City Theatre, now a Barnes & Noble book store. “Sweets are another thing I love, but beignets are not something I was accustomed to. Louisiana is so flavorful — salty, sweet — and that’s how Cubans like it. They’ve got their chicory, and coffee is a big deal for Cubans as well. We like a lot of milk and a lot of sugar in our coffee. We have café au lait in our truck. They kind of reflect each other and are a perfect fit.”
Morris’ family recipe for the delicate fritters covered in powdered sugar was inspired by the famous Café Du Monde version established in the New Orleans French Market more than 100 years ago.
“We began testing ours to see how we might make them a little different,” says the co-founder. “Ours are a little less dense, which works for California because everybody wants to be a little healthier. You don’t feel as heavy after you finish eating them. They’re more flaky like a puff pastry.”
Morris believes that in addition to the beignets being fried to order, a lot of the popularity stems from nostalgia and the smiles it brings to families that stop at the truck parked on Ventura Boulevard.
“My brother and I would have them in the morning all the way back to elementary school,” Morris remembers. “We’re learning that as we share with others, how attached people are to food through emotions and memories of doing things with their families here in Studio City and in New Orleans.”
“A lot of our customers are kids that come in groups with friends and parents,” says Milian who is an expectant mom of one and also co-owns Viva Diva Wines with her mom Carmen Milian. “Kids are big fans and it’s a really great way to sway your parents on a play date. They love the mini beignet bites in a box, but better get two. Even the most precious little angels don’t like sharing when it comes to these.”