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Monday, September 1, 2014

Echo Park’s taco lovers can’t wait for the weekend and Bellevue Steakhouse to arrive

A few feet away from the Echo Park Avenue exit off the 101 Freeway, the aroma of grilled carna asada and pungent chorizo filled the Friday night air near a blue canopy propped up against a chain link fence that runs along Bellevue Avenue. The roar of the freeway coming from the other side of the fence served as a background to the sounds of sizzling meat, a cleaver pounding away at a plastic cutting board and the voices of men, women and children ordering $1.25 tacos. Welcome to La Movidita, a weekend Angeleno Heights pop-up taco stand that has been dubbed The Bellevue Steakhouse by its fans on Yelp. In fact, a customer created a Bellevue Steakhouse sign and menu that hangs from the fence next to a bag of napkins and plates.

“People really love this place,” said Carlos, a Friday-night regular who brought his two sons and wife. On Friday, he worked on foam plate packed with four tacos, a combination of al pastor and carne asada. “We have been following them every where they go.”

Behind the grill and under the blue canopy, owner Juan Carlos Mora has been at his current location on Bellevue for about three years, where Mora sets up shortly after 6 p.m. on Friday through Sunday, serving up tacos of  carne asada, chorizo, cabeza, al pastor, lengua and the most popular, suadero. La Movidita was named after a lonchera or food truck Mora owned about a decade ago.  He sold the truck but kept selling tacos, hauling equipment in a Ford Aerostar van.   Mora has operated from several locations over the years,  including a garage across the street and, according to his customers, spots near Echo Park Lake and on Beverly Boulevard. But no matter where he goes,  Mora’s customers  have followed him on the street, and, now, online via Yelp.

The Bellevue Steakhouse tacos are even better than two other Echo Park street food favorites: the Arizas and Taco Zone trucks, according to customers. Said one man on Yelp:

I‘d like to keep this place to myself but I really like the honest, kind people who run the stand and I’d love to see them steal some business away from the trucks. But don’t go for that reason. Go because they are the best damn tacos you will ever eat.

70 comments

  1. This place is illegal. You cant just set up a restaurant anywhere you want. We have health codes for a reason. We have city zoning for a reason.

    I have called the city on this place a few times and they say it does not exist. Thanks for the post so I can now prove that it does. Bye bye illegal taco stand.

    • par-tay poo-pair

    • KittenFace, stop being such a Killjoy. It’s people like you that’s what’s wrong with the world today.

    • Hmm … I wonder what’s motivating such a strong anti-steak-taco stance. I agree in principle with your points, and I think it’s good to obey our city zoning and health codes, but I think you’re overreacting. Unless they’re setting up shop near similar existing restaurants, or right in front of your house, why not live and let live? It’s not as if ad-hoc taco stands are hotbeds of crime or debauchery.

    • And the hours are not even very late. Its over by 11. Very respectful of his surroundings.

    • Why's Everyboday Always Pickiing on Me?

      Do you call the cops when the neighborhood kids have a Lemonade Stand?

    • More like BitchFace

  2. Way to use a cheeseball fake name you coward. Good luck trying to shut down a small business that follows in the great culinary tradition of our city. I bet you own or work for some shitty overpriced local restaurant like El Conquistador or Alegria. Go back to your $15 burritos and the gueros that buy them and tell you “OMG THIS IS SO AUTHENTIC!!!”

  3. Kittenface is an A$$!!!!!!!

  4. @kittenface you are more welcomed to live somewhere else. If the community accepts he tacos stands then they shall stay. You’re just one small little person that doesn’t exist and nobody cares about. So, I suggest you go about your life and worry about other bigger ISSUES.

  5. bad karma coming to those whose resentments ruin good things for others

  6. Tacos by the side of the Road, just like old Echo Park!

  7. I do not own or work at any restaurants.

    I do live very very close and care about my areas appearance. This place does nothing for the aesthetics of Angelino Heights. It’s ugly.

    I’m also a guy who made a million calls to get rid of the Echo Park lake flea market. It’s gone.

    The food is cheap because it’s crappy product. Do you folks understand the irony of this taco stand selling low quality meat? They trade on their own people to make a profit. Do the research.

    It’s illegal. Not my law, but I was raised to obey the laws of the land. Blame my parents.

    There are plenty of available store fronts in our neighborhood. I recommend one of them.

    Paying taxes at the taco stand? Are they?

    • PETA, PETA, PETA, PETA…

    • I guarantee that you pick and choose which laws to follow, just as the rest of us do. If you’re a homeowner, have you pulled permits for any work over $500 in value? Do you drive over the speed limit on a regular basis? Did you ever smoke marijuana before it was decriminalized? Have you ever held a garage sale – and if so, did you pull a permit for it? Do you declare all your online purchases on your tax return and pay sales taxes on purchases that didn’t charge sales tax?

      Maybe your two posts on this article don’t truly represent your personality, but judging from what you’ve written here, you seem a bit petty, and perhaps over-vigilant. On that note, I don’t know if you’re looking for work, but I heard of an opening that might suit you: Neighborhood Watch person in Sanford, Florida.

  8. @pussyface it’s The land of the free. Like I said before if you dontlike the stand move the fuck out of the area. And don’t assume shit

  9. can the yuppie trendoids hipsters stop complaining about everything in the neighborhood

  10. SAVE STREET FOOD!

  11. typical=F$***face

    I hatee when people come into a neighborhood then tries to chaange it like all the others.

  12. People who support this guy’s right to sell tacos need to remember their opinions and not vote in the over regulated liberal idiots to council seats in our broken city. Let enterprise be free!

    • This is My Favorite Comment...

      … because through a tortured chain of logic, the Bellevue Steakhouse and the Republican Ticket are linked arm in arm

      • are you insinuating that more regulation is a conservative view? FYI, LA is full of libertarians, and many other free enterprise types like myself who absolutely support this guy… and detest the health department & city office of finance’s general over-reach. If you don’t own a business in LA, you have no idea how bad it is.

        I am aware of the risks of eating tacos at a roadside establishment. Don’t need any local gov’t to tell me what’s safe to eat, and if this guy get shutdown.

        I hope the notoriety of this thread doesn’t contribute to it! EFF KITTENFACE…

  13. Steakhouse…that’s pretty funny-

  14. I liked the echo park flea market. Why u so mad, kittenface?

  15. kitty has a point

    Really, though Kittenface does have a point.
    I am a small business owner forced to collect taxes on items I make a small profit on, and I have to also pay the damn city business tax to run an Ebay online store out of my house, for god’s sakes!
    I am not making much, but since I was on the books, the State of California wants it’s share of my tiny income…..why shouldn’t everyone have to follow the same rules.
    Also, living right across the street from the park for years, I HATED the eyesore fleamarket-it took away the park.
    I called the police and city every goddamn week about it, and I don’t understand why people thought it was so cruel when they got rid of the old plumbing/shoes/$1 store/old raggy clothes littering the park that is so precious to people with kids or pets or eyeballs.
    And I re-sell clothing for a living, so don’t think I’m some hifalutin’ yuppie/hipster/white person/gentrifyer nazi.
    Everyone is trying to eke out a living, and if I have to follow the rules to make $10,000 a year, so should everyone else. But I like their tacos, too-it’s not personal, just fair.

    • I totally feel your pain and see your point… i hope things like taco stands raise awareness about how difficult this city makes it to do business.

      • Maybe there could be an implementation of a small fee, a “use fee” that the taco stand could pay in return for the ability to set up their stand on the street. Since established brick and mortar shops and restaurants have to pay property taxes, permits, etc. perhaps little pop-up stands should have to pay into the system a little as well. Which also brings up a question: does the Steakhouse pay its fair share of sales tax? (ducks and runs as rocks get thrown my way)

  16. 1taco stand out of 100. How silly of people getting mad about a stand that is not your only option to eat at or support. I do understand some stands look tacky but that’s Los Angeles for you. Now if they leave without picking up for themselves by all means call the authorities but if they respect and want to make a Legal living then by all means let it be.

  17. KittenFace must be one of those PETA people who are moving in to the neighborhood. Next, they’ll bomb all the carnicerias in Echo Park. Because they’re all more highly evolved than those “savage” meat-eating brown people, right?

    • Hmmm, seems like someone is doing some assuming.

      About half of my veggie friends are “brown people”. White people, as I’m sure you know, aren’t the only ones who care about eliminating unnecessary suffering and keeping our planet sustainable.

  18. So far I’ve been called a liberal, murdering neighborhood watch person, PETA, racist, pussyface, ass, hippy, yuppie, killjoy, coward, one small little person that doesn’t exist and nobody cares about, trendoid, par-tay poo-pair, petty, over-vigilant, and told to fucking move. We have an entire Sunday ahead of us still so im sure there will be more to come.

    I had no idea so many Republicans lived in Echo Park.

  19. I admit my reference to Zimmerman was over-the-top, but for the record, I don’t consider Zimmerman a “murdering neighborhood watch person.” If it’s true that the screams were coming from Zimmerman and that Trayvon Martin was pummeling him and slamming his head into the ground, then I don’t consider Zimmerman a murderer.

  20. Health codes? LOL. I’ve eaten at roadside, “dirty” eateries around the world, including $0.50 pho in Vietnam and street tacos & dirty dogs across L.A. with zero issues. L.A. is sorely missing a street food culture that’s present in every part of the world.

  21. Team Kittenface.

  22. @Vanessa Yan

    We have health codes to protect us from disease. Just because you visit a country does not mean you have seen the whole side of it. I lived in Vietnam and my wife is Vietnamese, you have no idea how easy for babies to die from eating or drinking the food in Vietnam.My friends baby died at three months Vietnam from foot disease that could have been treated and prevented here in the USA. Many young people in Vietnam shun the street food scene due to sanitary reasons, we think it’s some fun game because this country is so well off.

  23. Kittenface is right. If you own property or live near one of these stands you would understand the negative impact it has on the immediate neighborhood. It may not be you, but there are those who drop their trash on the ground when done eating or arrive drunk only to urinate in public and cause loud disturbances for residents. That’s the part you don’t see.

    These businesses undercut legitimate mom & pop businesses struggling to pay taxes and meet health standards to provide safe food. That’s something many of you choose to overlook just to have a cheap food option. Grow up.

  24. You’re out of touch with culture and culinary delights. Go live elsewhere.

  25. Eastsider. Is there anyway to add something where we could all vote on topics, such as this? It really wouldn’t matter, since one rat not a cat can shut down something that is popular. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_a_young_rat_called. A baby rat is called a kitten in Europe. An adult rat is called Kittenface in the Eastside. Can you just not eat there, and just let everyone else enjoy their food. I pass by there all the time, and they clean up their mess. Why do you have to be the pro bono food inspector/tax collector? Its not your job.

  26. It does seem a bit unfair for businesses who have to pay rent, taxes and the rest to have to compete with a stand that has no real sunken costs. That being said, the cat is at this point out of the bag and it also seems unfair to single out one stand out of many, particularly just because one happens to live in Angeleno Heights in close proximity. Another fine example of NIMBY thought at its finest.

    As for Kittenface, what a sad existence it must be hoping that a taco stand gets written up on a blog so you can use it as evidence when you call the police. You live in Echo Park, and food stands are certainly part and parcel of the neighborhood. I personally think they add life and delicious food options to neighborhood (and no, just because a taco is $1.25 does it mean the quality is poor or that it will make you sick. That’s just a pejorative assessment of “ethnic” foods.

  27. I live just down the street from this place. The ball ‘n chain and I always joke about stopping for “brake dust tacos” when we’re out walking the pooches. I’ve got no problem with $1.25 tacos (Thursday night is taco night at our house), although I don’t eat there because food cooked in the open air right by the freeway skeeves me out, but that’s just me, and it’s not like I’m being forced to eat there. The only problem that I have is that occasionally you’ll get some idiot drivers who double-park or stop in the middle of Bellevue to get tacos.

  28. Personally, I enjoy the red “biohazard” trash cans used to block off the area around the stand.

    I’m with Kittenface. This has nothing to do with ethnic. If goateed anglos were selling burgers, it still would not be permitted. This is simply not how things are done here.

  29. The link below is for anyone who wants to help get rid of this illegal taco stand or any other illegal food stands.

    https://admin.publichealth.lacounty.gov/phcommon/complaints/phcomp.cfm

    • Thanks for the link.

      Its all just tasty tacos until someone sets up an illegal charcoal grill under YOUR window…

  30. @KittenFace

    So typical of the Hipster Sheep to think that some disgusting road-side eatery is worth getting a rise in their skinny jeans about. It’s interesting that the Hipster Sheep are so in to supporting businesses that are local and “neighborhood” and yet they choose to defend an enterprise like an illegal garbage stand that cooks food underneath a dirty freeway overpass without running water or bathroom facilities that easily undercuts the revenue to those local businesses it’s so important to support.

    So which is it, Hipster Lemmings? Is it important to support those local businesses that work hard to open an actual shop, keep up with health codes and pay all the taxes it requires? But not at the expense of buying cheap dog meat tacos to support unemployed, musician bellies?

    Gotta make sure we’ve got enough scratch to buy that good spray paint for our pathetic, little children graffiti…. er…… art, right?

    Baa, Baa, Hipster Sheep.

    I’m with you Kitten Face. And now that I’ve got the information you’ve linked, I’ll be out there writing up these shitholes, too.

    Viva small businesses!!!

  31. These comments are such a joke. SAVE STREET FOOD!

    Kittenface is not the face of EP or LA

  32. This is just another longtime Angeleno Heights resident voicing his opinion that that taco stand is not only one of the best things in the immediate neighborhood, but it’s one of the best things about Echo Park, which has become peppered with mediocre restaurants with only vaguely interesting fare. I had no problem with the flea market, either.

    It seems perfectly acceptable to me that some people who do not appreciate these things should grudgingly accept them as part of a multi-cultural and diverse neighborhood, just as I must grudgingly accept the squadrons of church people who clog the streets invading the Dream Center every weekend. But, right, of course, those folks aren’t covered in brake dust, don’t leave garbage behind, and they improve the neighborhood with lots of tax free money, of course, of course, yes, yes, lovely…My point is, it’s about community in one way or another. I may not like some aspects, you may not like some aspects, but live and let live. It would be so boring here, otherwise.

  33. I have nothing against the taco stand, and certainly wouldn’t eat there (my office is next to the 101, I see the black residue all over my desk every morning). I’m thinking that the guys who run the stand are fully aware that their business is illegal, and are mentally prepared for the inevitable. they have to know that eventually they will be shut down, and at that point they’ll just haul their stuff somewhere else and set-up shop. life will go on, with or without the taco stand, and there will always be another to take it’s place. doubt i’ll be eating there either.

    it seems silly to complain about regulations though. they are in place because there are plenty of unscrupulous business owners out there. most are honest, but you still need to protect the public from deceptive business practices (and hepatitis).

  34. I am willing to stand up for Bellevue Steakhouse against those who would crush the entrepreneurial spirit. Don’t like it? Don’t eat there. Beyond that, it is none of your business.

  35. I live two blocks east of the taco stand on Bellevue. I personally don’t have a problem with the stand that operates only Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. Not all day but a few hours in the evening. I would rather our city resources be used to eliminate the taggers and gang members who spray paint in the neighborhood every weekend. That is the real blight in Angelino Heights. I moved here thirty years ago. At that time a taco stand would have been the least of our problems.

  36. I for one love that my neighbors are all so impassioned. Been an A. Heights renter for 7 years and proud!

    Definitely glad flea market is gone, even though it was an impressive effort.
    Haven’t eaten at taco stand, but it smells good and I love that it has such a following.
    Kudos to small business owners working to make a living and make our neighborhood a better place to live! And kudos to those engaged in local issues.

    There are places for both on my block.

  37. Really? Why is this a discussion? This is illegal. You just cant decide to open a restaurant without permits and following health codes. This is about safety. What if this taco stand got some contaminated beef and people became severely ill. What then? Who is to blame? Who is in charge? Who can you sue? What if this stand was opened and operated by evil “Whitey”? The stand would be closed within a hour. This is about AUDACITY? Lets see what I can get away with before I get busted mentality. Why does legit business have to pay for permits, rent, insurance and these criminals(that what they are) get to set up where and when they want. I live in EP and have been here for 20 years and Im down with street food as long as their inspected by health services. A lot of peop0le in the area believe they can continue to disobey the rules and nothing will happen. Follow the rules, do it the legal way and then you wont have to continue to live your life in the shadows. If that really the way you want to live your life…in fear. You only have one. Really?
    If you eat here, you will get exactly what you deserve. Think about it? This place is in a dirty lot by the freeway. You have know ideal what your in stored for.
    bon appetit

  38. Really? Why is this a discussion? This is illegal. You just cant decide to open a restaurant without permits and following health codes. This is about safety. What if this taco stand got some contaminated beef and people became severely ill. What then? Who is to blame? Who is in charge? Who can you sue? What if this stand was opened and operated by evil “Whitey”? The stand would be closed within a hour. This is about AUDACITY. Lets see what I can get away with before I get busted mentality. Why does legit business have to pay for permits, rent, insurance and these criminals(that what they are) get to set up where and when they want. I live in EP and have been here for 20 years and Im down with street food as long as their inspected by health services. A lot of peop0le in the area believe they can continue to disobey the rules and nothing will happen. Follow the rules, do it the legal way and then you wont have to continue to live your life in the shadows. If that really the way you want to live your life…in fear. You only have one. Really?
    If you eat here, you will get exactly what you deserve. Think about it? This place is in a dirty lot by the freeway. You have know ideal what your in stored for.
    bon appetit

  39. Theyre the best tacos and theyre not illegal kitty face

  40. Dont be saying tht cazz yo Amy end up doing the same thing and whats yor real name

  41. Really there are so many other things that Pussyface could put her efforts in other than the taco stand! I live right on Bellevue and have no problem with a family man trying to make a living. If you do not like it, then keep it to yourself! I believe there is a God and ugly, mean, disgusting people like you that have nothing better to do but set out to hurt someone who is trying to make a living will eventually get something bad coming your way! Karma is a bitch Pussyface!!!!!!!!!!

    • Uhm, God has nothing to to with it sweetie. And YES IT IS ILLEGAL TO SET UP FOOD VENDING STANDS WITHOUT PERMITS!

      You think all the restaurants in the area get business licenses, insurance, and pay for inspections as a luxury for their clients? NO! They do it because they have to. They do it because they are following the rules.

      The tacos being the best in the world is irrelevant to the law.

      If you believe in this taco stand, go to the owner and tell him you want to invest the thousands of dollars to set him up in a restaurant where he is following the rules that everyone else has to follow.

      I’m sure you two will be the next Echo Park Millionaires.

  42. Their getting a food truck alredy

  43. Wow, I am really surprised to see so many people are still discussing about the taco stand. BTW, those guys probably have no idea that The Eastsidela readers are “passionately” talking about them. I noticed there were more customers at the stand last weekend. I think this discussion is a good advertisement for them! (so if you want to boycott the taco stand, stop talking about them !!! )
    Yes, it is an illegal operation. Most likely, they don’t pay tax and they probably don’t have a business license, but that’s not our business. They will face the fact sooner or later. That taco stand is just a tip of the iceberg of the whole illegal food stands. Even if they stop selling tacos, someone will show up the spot.

    I think we have more serious issues such as tagging, gangs, and crimes in this neighborhood. A young guy was shot right front of his house last week, and no one talks about the incident like this.
    People, please forget about the taco stand.
    We have “real” issues in this neighborhood.

    Thank you for reading!

  44. Thanks for the cuisinicious tip. BTW, just purely acacemic and eeking curiousity, and, furthermore, knowing this is not a random sample, what is everyone’s political affiliation (including KittenFace)?

  45. Just found this absurd thread. The food at Bellevue is prepared with Care, the service is great and they always clean up after themselves. It brings life and community to an otherwise bleak stretch of road. If you want to complain about criminal behavior “trading on their people” and dog meat, why not complain about the legal but much more dangerous-to-our-society McDonalds around the corner on Alvarado? Just plain silliness.

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