Highland Park’s El Huarache Azteca Gets a Sleek New Look

The beloved neighborhood restaurant says they did it for the people

There have been a lot of changes on York Boulevard in the past few years, but the latest is a bit of a surprise. El Huarache Azteca, a favorite among Highland Park residents for almost 25 years, just got a big makeover.

“We just feel like we need to give more to the people because we’ve been here for such a long time, and we’ve had nothing but support from everybody over here, so it’s basically for the clients,” says manager Omar Rodriguez. “We want them to be in a nicer environment.”

The new, modern look includes wood paneling, sleek metal-rimmed tables, and muted walls that allow the beloved restaurant’s many framed critical accolades to really pop. El Huarache’s emblem is prominently displayed on a side wall next to the counter. In the back room, they’ve also added more dining space, which will be available to customers soon. Out front, there are new wooden picnic tables.

The entire remodel was only supposed to take about a week, but Rodriguez says that city inspections and approvals (the bane of many an L.A. restaurateur’s existence) caused the project to drag on for about two months. Upon the restaurant’s reopening, guests were greeted with a welcome sign explaining the changes and thanking customers for their years of patronage. “Welcome back to your Huarache Azteca!” it read. “We welcome you with open arms. We have remodeled for your convenience to offer more comfort and pleasing quality.” So far, reports Rodriguez, the response to the redo has been enthusiastic.

Even though the actual look of the menu is a bit fancier than before—the color photos have given way to an orderly black and white board that explains specials and specialties—Rodriguez says the food is as good as always, and everyone can expect the same quality and flavor. We recommend the Barbacoa y Consome special on the weekends and, of course, a huarache and agua fresca every other day.

El Huarache Azteca, 5225 York Blvd; (323) 478-9572