One of the biggest disappoints I still have with Carmel’s 8th/Grand project is they didn’t activate the Olive Street side of the mixed-use building with any retail space. Currently the project facing Olive is comprised mostly of a blank wall and a portion of glass windows set aside for the building’s residential fitness center. I really wish that Whole Foods was designed with at least some kind of back entrance that would address the street a bit better instead of focusing all its attention on Grand Ave. In any case, that’s why I am so excited that Chicas Tacos is opening on Olive Street that will help fill in the void created by 8th/Grand.
The first thing I want to say about Chicas Tacos is just how cute it is! It really took me by surprise when I saw it for the first time yesterday. I thought to myself, “How could I have missed this one?” Well, because currently there’s not much reason to walk up Olive Street for those aforementioned reasons, that’s why. What was once a no frills Danny’s Tacos shack, which I’m sure had delicious tacos as well, has been completely transformed into something visually spectacular that is now bright and colorful and adorned by an eye-catching neon sign set atop the diminutive 700 square foot restaurant.
Local DTLA developer, BLVD Hospitality, is behind this new venture. Their goal is to create a modern Mexican dining experience — something you might bump into while wandering the trendy neighborhoods of La Condesa or La Roma in Mexico City — right here in central Downtown LA.
According to Nico Rusconi, one of the co-founders of Chicas Tacos, it all started with a vintage metallic Airstream that he and his business partners acquired a few years ago. The initial plan was to find a place in the Arts District and convert the Airstream into a taco shop. But due to various code issues and complexities, that plan never hatched out. An opportunity to take over Danny’s Tacos, and to execute their vision for Chicas Tacos, came up when the business came up for sale. The Airstream now sits across the driveway from Chicas Tacos as the main centerpiece in the outdoor dining area.
Now, just days before their soft opening on May 30 (grand opening in mid-June), Chicas Tacos is starting to really create a buzz in the neighborhood as word begins to spread. Just wait until you try the tacos, which includes a simple and delicious menu of chicken, beef, fish, and veggie tacos. For me, the star of the show is really getting the beef taco “Mama’s style.” Although they are a bit pricey at $5 a taco (damn you inflation), I still think it’s a valuable addition to this block in Downtown LA, which desperately needs a strong destination to bring some life onto the street.
I believe in a balance of various businesses for our urban center, and I’m glad they decided to open here instead of the Arts District, which I think would have been lost in the “indie homogeneity.” Here on the border of the Financial District, it can really stand out and shine.
For more info, including updated hours, visit Chicas Tacos online.