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Why This Beloved L.A. Chef Is Closing His James Beard-Nominated Restaurant in Chinatown

Wes Avila is looking forward to traveling and popping up around Europe and Asia, including spending more time at his Kyoto restaurant, PIOPIKO. He also alludes to a "sick" new project.

4:27 PM PST on December 13, 2023

Angry Egret Dinette

Angry Egret Dinette. Photo by Lexis-Olivier Ray.

“It’s been a crazy-ass three years.”

Wes Avila reflects a bit over the phone on his final decision to close Angry Egret Dinette.

He’s not kidding.

In a matter of 1,095 days, he was a 2022 James Beard Award finalist for “Best New Restaurant” and also got to throw the first pitch in the opening game of the  2021 World Series.

“When we first started—it was initially just a pop-up during the pandemic," he told L.A. TACO. "It’s time to get to it and do other stuff.”

A McTorta from Angry Egret Dinette. Photo by Lexis-Olivier Ray for L.A. TACO.
A McTorta from Angry Egret Dinette. Photo by Lexis-Olivier Ray for L.A. TACO.
Fish tacos at Angry Egret Dinette. Photo by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.

His tone during the interview is excited—ecstatic, even—and not tinged in the least with melancholy. 

The Pico Rivera-raised Avila is L.A.’s most celebrated, homegrown taquero. He was also the first to innovate the cheffed-up taco in Los Angeles and serve scallops, weird vegetables, and sushi-grade yellowtail on tortillas in the early 2010s via his concept Guerrilla Tacos, paving the way for an entire generation of Chicano chefs to put whatever the hell they wanted on a tortilla.

He led a loyal following for this new-school taco, eventually opening a revolutionary counter-service brick-and-mortar location of Guerrilla Tacos, which is still open today.

As for Angry Egret, he promises, “It’s not like I’m bummed, and our landlords have been nothing but supportive since opening; we outgrew it."

Avila plans to do some traveling and popping up around Europe and Asia, including spending more time at his Kyoto restaurant, PIOPIKO. He also alludes to a new project that he is not at liberty to talk about but describes it as being “dope as fuck and coming early-to-mid next year.” 

The classically trained chef tinkered with the idea of keeping Angry Egret Dinette while traveling a bit and focusing more on his next project, but he is choosing to “end on a high note, instead.” He is also taking most of his staff to his next concept, which he refers to as “fucking sick."

Angry Egret Dinette opened in October of 2020, and what initially started as a new-school torta shop evolved into a rotating seasonal menu featuring celebrated items like poached lobster-filled breakfast burritos, Belgian waffles, and his own take on a Big Mac-inspired breakfast sandwich. 

The last day of service will be brunch on Sunday, December 31st. Avila is also still taking orders for his famous tamales and confirms everyone who places an order will get their Avila-style masa fix.

970 N Broadway STE 114 Los Angeles, CA 90012. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 45 - “Broadway/Bernard” or Metro A Line - "Chinatown Station."

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