When chef Aaron J. Perez quietly debuted his gourmet burger concept at Glassell Park’s Tested L.A. last year, he quickly attracted a loyal crowd in the Northeast L.A. neighborhood. He then took Vaka Burger out on the road via a cow-emblazoned food truck and gained citywide fame for his grass-fed burgers and truffle fries. The obvious next step–a brick-and-mortar location–is now in the works.
Last week, the chef announced that he and his team would be parking the truck in order to focus on Vaka Express, a new spot inside Boyle Heights drinkers’ paradise Ramirez Beverage Center. Perez, himself a Boyle Heights native, says the move will allow Vaka to bring back customer favorites, like the remarkably airy, beer-battered Maui Rings, duck-confit grilled cheese, and sauced-up chicken wings, which weren’t conducive to their food-truck operation.
As for an opening date, Aaron’s fiancée and business partner Esmeralda Y. Sanchez tells us that Vaka is still awaiting final approval from the health department, but the team plans to move quickly with renovations once they get the green light. A soft-opening launch will follow.
“Bringing high-end cuisine flavors to a bun allows our customers the opportunity to have quality food on the go,” Perez says.
In the meantime, Vaka Burger will host a series of private loft dinners throughout February, which will include a three-course meal and a chance to talk burgers with Perez. Find out more on their Facebook page.
Vaka Express will be located at 2765 E. Olympic Blvd., 213-221-7309