Monday, June 17, 2024

Guisados Long Beach opens today with limited hours test run


The Boyle Heights-birthed institution Guisados has finally moved beyond the confines of L.A. proper and into Long Beach, where it was announced a month ago that they’ll be taking over the former Long Beach Fish Grill on Redondo Avenue. And they are already ready to grease up their newly minted taco machine: Guisados Long Beach will open today at 10AM, with breakfast served through noon, and completing off lunch until 3PM.

And these will be the regular hours until a full staff is built up, owners said.

Why Guisados coming to Long Beach is an important part of the SoCal food story

Surely, Long Beach already has its much-loved guisados space at La Chancla near 10th Street and Cherry Avenue but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more—and Guisados’s dip into Long Beach marks an Angeleno taco institution recognizing that L.A. encompasses much more than the formal borders of our county’s capital.

Let’s be honest, Guisados came rather quick: Long Beach Fish Grill closed in March and Guisados was already up with signage on the building a month later—and their history is nearing a 15-year stretch that was birthed in the Latino-rich community of Boyle Heights.

Father-and-son team Armando De La Torre Sr. & Armando De La Torre Jr.—much like Ismael Miramontes over at La Chancla—had one simple dream: To bring the memories of their households and masterfully crafted braised meats in simmering broths to the hands of Angelenos. Even more, Guisados was birthed out of trials and tribulations when it opened in 2010: The father was experiencing a divorce and a tanking real estate market as a realtor and his son, moving to Chicago post-college, couldn’t find work.

Making tortillas from the freshly nixtamalized masa next door at Carnitas Uruapan, they opened their first shop in their heart of Boyle Heights along Cesar Chavez Boulevard. Come the following year, the great, late, influential food writer Jonathan Gold published an LA Weekly review that had turned them into an official taco phenomenon—and since then, they’ve opened locations in everywhere from Burbank to Beverly Hills.

And they’ve even moved beyond tacos de guisados: In 2018, they closed the been-here-since-the-’60s burger institution that is George’s Burger Stand and within four days, had rebranded the restaurant, installed a more streamlined menu, and sourced new ingredients to the point where it thrives to today. And then they took on the longstanding El Siete Mares stand in Silver Lake back in 2021, putting up signage in March of that year for make way their Playita concept, an ode to the family’s many roadside mariscos trips—but in this case, the road being Sunset Boulevard.

So what, exactly, are the wonderful world of stewed meats that are guisados?

They go by many names: tacos de guisados, tacos de cazuela, tacos mañaneros…

But the one thing that unites them is the fact that the meats or veggies stuffed in the tacos are all stewed in singular cazuelas, pots that are traditionally earthenware but have shifted to metal tins as the growth of food trucks and fast casual restaurants spread. We’re talking birria, chile verde, tinga de pollo…

They harken to the stewy fillings created at large family gatherings, where soupy dollops of meats that have been simmering for hours in clay cazuelas are stacked onto a fresh corn tortilla with minimal toppings. Maybe some onion and cilantro, maybe some salsa, maybe just meat. Eating four is common, eating more is almost unavoidable.

They are rather ubiquitous throughout Mexico—places like Taco Gus in Mexico City and Taco Guadalajara in Guadalajara have made them outright common—and they have spurred food tours in states ranging from Guanajuato to Quintana Roo. Stateside, Los Angeles’ Guisado’s has turned them into a beyond-popular small chain that spans across the region, bringing with them chuleta en chile verde (diced pork chop chunks simmered in chile verde), bistek en salsa roja (flank steak stewed with red bell peppers and tomatoes), and mole Poblano (shredded chicken in Puebla-style mole).

Guisados is located at 1201 Redondo Ave.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


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