El Banquetazo


Most of us know that East L.A. has a unique and colorful character all of it’s own. I thought I’d seen everything in Do-It-Yourself entrepreneurship in my old Barrio, until today. “La Crisis” has spawned so many forms of creativity to make financial ends meet that nothing really surprised me anymore. That is until I heard the latest “Chisme” while visiting my Mom in the Eastside. “Have you heard about those people down the street who are running a full on restaurant on their front lawn?” she asked. “Holy Crap!“, I gasped. “This I gotta see“…..With great curiosity, my bro’ and I set out this afternoon to check out this suburban spectacle for ourselves. I remember that while visiting Mexico D.F. years ago, the sight of multiple homes in residential neighborhoods that would lay out smorgasbords of food for sale to passersby was a common sight there. But here, well, that was quite a different matter. I’d never heard of such Nervio! As we walked up to the house our disbelief was greeted by the sight of a festively decorated, but modest residential yard with hand-written signs welcoming all to “EL BANQUETAZO“. Wow!…..



We were greeted by the two gentlemen running this establishment with a friendliness rarely found among even the city’s most hoity-toity restaurant maitre’d’s.

Van a comer aqui?” we were asked. Upon hearing our affirmation, the two men instantly carried out a nearby dining table and set it out for us in the middle of the lawn. “Sientense por favor!” they smiled. “Wow, what service!”



We then pondered our dining choices from the posted menu,………….hmmm,…Tostada de Tinga and Flautas de Carne y de Papa were the day’s entrées.

The kids were happily lounging about the whole time watching Daddy work!


We asked for a combo plate and the staff happily obliged as they diligently prepared various meals….



As we waited, we observed numerous local customers arriving to place and to pick up orders. These guys were busy! business looked good! One lady laughed as she picked up her family’s order: “Thank You! You saved me from cooking in a hot kitchen tonight!



By now, our food had arrived and we admired the tasty looking dishes! The flautas were light and crispy. The beef as well as the potato ones were wonderfully seasoned somewhere under a mountain of cool fresh shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes and fresh cream. From my seat I observed as the cook had gathered the fresh ingredients from his kitchen’s refrigerator. My brother noted that the server guy was thoughtfully wearing those restaurant plastic gloves as he handled the dishes.


Delicious and yummy! They told me that they might feature Gorditas on their menu next week and “Yes”, they do deliver and cater parties!


After enjoying my flautas, I went over to thank the two men and learned that one was from Mexico D.F., the other from San Luis Potosi. They had no previous restaurant experience but learned to cook while observing the cooks in their family while growing up. I asked about their set up here and they explained that this was their first month of doing it after both being laid off from their jobs. I told them that I was happy to lend my support to two locals such as them and that I admired their spirit and drive to provide for their home and family through whatever means they could.

They explained that they will continue in this venture as long as they can.

When “La Crisis” strikes, I see that some individuals will turn to financial advisors, seminars, Suze Orman, even booze, drugs, crime and depression. While others bear down and find means to generate income somehow. Albeit under the radar. A survivor instinct kicks in and communities find ways to support each other during these down periods.

I will not include the men’s names, the location or any other specific information about this place here. If any of you know me or want to contact me, I may consider sharing the info. Maybe. A few reasons for this being:

  1. I don’t want to get them busted.
  2. I don’t want to tip off any hipsters
  3. I don’t want to see this place wind up on Yelp!
  4. Que te importa!



Location: The Eastside

Hours: Open only Fridays and Saturdays, 4pm until the food runs out. (And it does!)

Cash Only

Street parking where you can find it.

Letter Grade: No Mames!!!

We thanked our hosts, paid our bill ($9 for two combo plates and two drinks) and after some warm “Hasta Luegos” we walked down the side street about a block when we noticed another hand written sign in front of yet another house….



Competition! Another house was offering it’s own menu selections! Wow! This is turning into House-Restaurant Row! This may be catching on!

This entry was posted in culture, East Los, Eastside, Food, La Crisis, Pendejadas, Personal, Photos, Reviews by AlDesmadre. Bookmark the permalink.

About AlDesmadre

Al Guerrero, Artist/Humorist. Los Angeles, CA. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles from the age of two, Al Guerrero grew up just steps from the famous Chicano strip, Whittier Boulevard. His youth experiences include witnessing and participating in the 1970 Chicano Power demonstrations, cruising cars on Whittier Boulevard, and graduating from Garfield High School. After dropping out of UCLA (with honors), he drew upon his lifelong passion for art and cartooning and pursued a career in graphic arts. During this period, he traveled overseas and found artistic inspiration from the masterworks he discovered within the European Art Museums. His career blossomed when he was eventually hired by the Walt Disney Company in 1995, where he worked as a creative artist for a number of years. Although the artistic work was rewarding, he eventually grew weary & disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the entertainment business, and left to work briefly in the educational field. His credits include producing a feature film with actor, Conrad Brooks of Ed Wood fame, founding and performing with the Punk Rock group “The Psychocats” at numerous L.A. & Hollywood venues during the 1990’s, and in 1999 he founded and created a hell-bent puppet cabaret show aptly named: “The Puppets from Hell”. As a long time active member of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, Al “Quaeda”, as he was known, was involved in countless Cacophony Society pranks and events throughout the city. He also produced the “Incredibly Strange Cinema” cult film series as well as themed events such as the now infamous “Pornothon Movie Nights” and the satirical “Mexican Night: Noche De Tequila & Putas” shows at local nightclub venues. Throughout his art career, he has exhibited his canvas paintings at various local galleries, and has also written & illustrated numerous comic strips and Graphic Novel stories. Today, he lives in Silver Lake, California and works as a freelance artist and writer with numerous multi-media projects under his belt and in the works. His personal hobbies include collecting vintage toys and comic books, cinema history and Los Angeles City history. Contact: alguerrero@earthlink.net Al Guerrero P.O. Box 29697 Los Angeles, CA 90029-0697 www.alguerrero.com Myspace.com/thepuppetsfromhell

15 thoughts on “El Banquetazo

  1. “I don’t want to tip off any hipsters”


    There was a house in Sacramento that used to sell tamales on friday and saturday nights, late into the wee hours of the morning. They stopped doing it. Rumor has it a Taco Bell exec ratted them out. There was a Taco Bell a few blocks away and the makeshift tamale stand just killed them. It’s all about free enterprise with those big businesses, until someone kicks their ass.

  2. What a great post Al! Showcasing some of the unique aspects of the Eastside but also being protective so that they don’t get busted. I’m gonna write you offsite for the address, cuz I’m interested in the tacos de papa!

    Now this is exactly what blogs are for! Chido!

  3. Great post. Let’s hope that the city does not f*ck with them and stop them (god forbid!) from actually providing a service and making some cash.

  4. Al- I have the utmost respect for a man or woman who will hustle legally, to make ends meet.The food looks good, real homemade, and good service too!! I saw something similar in the 70’s when “Lupe” on Eastmont Ave was selling Taquitos, Corn Dogs, Bean & Cheese Burritos, Hot Dogs etc.. from her house. There was no display or seating in the yard, but her kids would deliver the food to your door, even at 11pm!!

  5. Al- The more I see it, I can tell it’s one block from my house. Although, I haven’t passed by during buisness hours.

  6. Hey necesidad es la madre de invencion..necessity is the mother of invention.

    I too know where this place is, one of my brothers friends lives on the same block.
    I think they should be more discreet about it though, unless they can play it off as say “its a party” 🙂

    Anyways ive been a hater for street vendors and live chickens in ones backyard.
    But this i do support and like.

    We all have to eat right?

    And those prices definitely sound right.

  7. Orale! I love the decor, like ‘loveandhatela’ said if the cops try to bust them, they can say ‘it’s a party’ I love my local tamle vendor. I get un tamal de queso y un champurrado once a week as a ‘treat’ to myself. I would love to know where el banquetazo is. If there is any way to email me or DM me on twitter http://www.twitter.com/laura_luna I would much appreciate it!

  8. this has been going on in HP, FLorence and the southside for a while now. you can find a lot of spots offering comida casera…en casa.

    most areas try to limit the competition. one house/apt does seafood (jaiba), another tamales, another mangoniadas, another flautas, another tacos. leave room for everyone. i love peoples resrourcefulness.

  9. This is awesome. I wish my neighbors across the street sold food instead of opening their own private bar/party garage/sonic cannon under the house they built on stilts between their two houses.

  10. Well, since today is Saturday I’ll see if I can make some reservations for 2, valet parking, no smoking section.

  11. Hey Fonso, it’s me tony from vons. just checking out the site, and I gotta say I really like it. lots of info and character from a good bunch of writers. I won’t be back to work till Wed (early). I’m going to read on, get back to ya soon. thanks again, T.

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