Food trucks swapping wheels for doors

Jake Fredericks

The prospect of wheeling around town in a retrofitted Postal Service truck slinging tacos and cupcakes to the masses isn’t as glamorous as depicted in reality shows, like “The Great Food Truck Race.” Turning a profit in the food industry is a tough nut to crack, let alone for food trucks. Countless would-be restaurant mavens are forced to hang up their chef coats on a daily basis, and few have the cajones to step back into the ring. However, Los Angeles has proven to be a prosperous city for those fortunate enough to find themselves ‘in the black.’ A handful of well-known names in the food truck biz also operate brick-and-mortar establishments, modeled from the success of their mobile assets. So when you can’t track down your new favorite truck, pull over and pull up a seat at these stationary locations.

Komodo Cafe
What: “Dangerously good” Asian-Mexican fusion
Where: 8809 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035 / 235 Main St., Venice, CA 90291
Eat This!: Blazin’ Shrimp tacos
Drink This!: Lychee Lemonade
Komodo head chef and co-owner, Erwin Tjahyadi, represents the old vanguard of LA food trucks, and possesses a business model that few have successfully replicated. Tjahyadi and company hit the streets of LA in 2009 and rapidly piqued the interest of farm-to-table eaters. Komodo’s fresh ingredients and innovative ideas are supported by a unique marriage between Asian and Hispanic cuisines. It is rare to hear about a food truck raising enough capital to support a restaurant in its first years, and relatively unheard of to boast a second restaurant by its fifth birthday. Tjahyadi and Komodo helped write the book on LA’s fast-casual dining scene, while offering affordable prices and extraordinary food.

TLT Food
What: Neuvelle Mexican-American grub
Where: 1116 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024 / 225 W. 7th St., Los Angeles, CA 90014
Eat This!: ‘World Famous’ Carnitas Fries
Drink This!: Trade Winds Tripel Belgian-style ale
The Lime Truck (TLT) was literally thrust into the food truck limelight following its spectacular season 2 victory in Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race” competition. Co-founder Daniel Shemtob proceeded to put TLT’s name on the map by opening the first restaurant shortly after it’s inaugural year. Now, in 2014, TLT trucks can be spotted on the streets of Los Angeles and Orange County, and continually frequent high-profile parties and celebrity events.

Coolhaus (pronounced “cool house”)
What: Custom ice cream sandwiches
Where: 8858 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232 / 59 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91105
Eat This!: Double Chocolate cookie with Maldon sea salt + Beer & Pretzels ice cream
Drink This!: Nutella hot chocolate
This Bauhaus-inspired confectionary dream machine is the brainchild of Natasha and Freya — two likable, quirky women who apparently never stopped making desserts from their Easy Bake Oven. The dynamic duo converted old postal trucks into cute, ice cream delivery mobiles, and have enterprises in California, New York, Texas and Florida. On top of that, their pre-packaged ice cream delights are sold in 40 states and in more than 1000 different markets. Coolhaus is a running testament to the future and versatility of food trucks, reflected in the millions of ice cream sandwich combinations offered daily.