Victor Villa Opens Villa’s Tacos Inside Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market

Victor Villa, the charismatic owner of Highland Park’s Villa’s Tacos, opened a second location of his popular grilled taco shop inside Grand Central Market on March 24, 2024. It’s a big moment not only for the locally born taquero, but for Los Angeles, as a lauded and affordable food option replaces the space once occupied by the shuttered Belcampo Meat Co. The stall remained empty in the 106-year-old food hall and market for two years.

Villa tells Eater LA that Grand Central Market owners Andrew and Adam Daneshgar invited him to open in the market while he was still operating as a street stand on York Boulevard. “There was an opportunity to open in Grand Central Market in 2022, but I turned it down,” says Villa. “We didn’t have a restaurant yet and I needed the first Villa’s to be in Highland Park.”

Villa opened the restaurant a few months later in Highland Park on Figueroa and 54th Street and still maintains long lines of fans ordering what he describes as “Estilo Los Angeles” cuisine. There, he grills asada, chicken, or chorizo over mesquite with house-made salsas and garnishes. Villa garnered national attention on Netflix’s Taco Chronicles with frequent shots of his Monterey Jack cheese-encrusted blue corn tortillas. Villa plans to add some new menu items to both locations, which he’ll announce in the near future.

Once his liquor license is approved in the coming weeks, Villa’s will offer local beers on tap and wine by the glass. For now, he removed the former stall’s stools to make sure crowds have room to maneuver. “We’re gonna make our own tomato juice, fresh-squeezed lime juice, clam juice and have the perfect Michelada recipe,” says Villa.

Grand Central Market went through a significant overhaul in 2023 with PBJ.LA, Clark Street Bread, Chiles Secos, Horse Thief BBQ, DTLA Cheese, and Sari Sari Store closing. Newcomers Baker’s Knead, Ghost Sando Shop, Sushi Rush, Maple Block Meat Co., For The Win, and Broad Street Oyster Co. took their places.

Villa’s Tacos’ menu and sign at Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

The menu and sign at Grand Central Market.

Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market is a significant shift from an 800-square-foot space in Highland Park. This one features a walk-in fridge, a larger prep room, and enough room to hold a custom mesquite grill from Texas manufacturer M&M Barbecue — all of which will help accommodate the market’s much busier foot traffic. The space is simple in design, adorned with Villa’s Tacos colors and a neon logo.

“I’m proud of my roots. I’m proud to be Mexican. I’m proud of things from the Michoacan and Guerrero. But I’m also proud of being from LA and to represent LA in my food,” says Villa.

Villa’s Tacos is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Grand Central Market at 312 S. Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90013.

Custom meat grill at Villa’s Tacos in Los Angeles.

Custom mesquite grill.

Asada beef grilled on a custom red grill at Villa’s Tacos in Los Angeles at Grand Central Market.

Grilled asada.

Grilled meats over a grill at Villa’s Tacos in Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Grilled smoky asada.

Three fresh drinks at Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Aguas frescas.

Taco meats in a prep container at Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Taco meats.

A woman extracts fresh lime juice at Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Fresh lime juice.

Villa’s Tacos owner prepares food for customers at Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Victor Villa.

Customers line up at Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

The line at Grand Central Market.

A woman orders at a counter at Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Counter.

A man hovers over a grill with a white tshirt at Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Villa’s Tacos tshirt.

A Michelin Bib Gourmand sign at Villa’s Tacos Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Michelin Bib Gourmand.

Customers line up at Grand Central Market for Villa’s Tacos in Los Angeles.

Long lines.

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