First came Wes Avila’s wild and genre-bending Guerrilla Tacos, and now comes the chef’s creative spin on tortas.
Angry Egret Dinette’s got all the trappings of an Avila concept: a laid-back atmosphere, big dreams and colorful, farmers’-market–driven dishes that lean Mexican but could take cues from all over the world—and usually take them from the flavors of L.A. specifically, because really, we’ve got it all.
Avila and his tight-knit team began serving sandwiches through Angry Egret’s tiny window in Mandarin Plaza over the weekend, handing off flavor-packed sandwiches on fluffy but crunchy-crusted rolls. It’s a small and grassroots operation from Avila, who recently left his groundbreaking Guerrilla Tacos after nearly a decade of uni tostadas and sweet potato tacos.
“I stepped away from Guerrilla because it was just time to step away from Guerrilla, so as far as the sandwich shop, it was just idle hands,” he says. “I was bored at the house.”
During one of these boredom spells he mentioned to his wife that he’d gladly jump on a restaurant space that offered a window and a patio, and the next day, a friend approached him with intel on one sitting ready in Chinatown. Avila agreed to take over the space for just a three-month stint, but if all goes well, Angry Egret Dinette will stick around—and it’ll be exciting if it does, because Avila’s got plans.
“I’m over doing tacos,” he says. “I’ve been doing it the last nine years, so I just wanted to do something different, and this is just the start.”
The casual Wednesday-to-Sunday spot launched with three options: The Whittier Blvd comes piled with beef suadero, horseradish cream, avocado, queso fresco and serrano chilies, while the Culver—a nod to a torta from his Guerrilla Taco truck days—involves prosciutto di Parma, Maasdam cheese, arugula and a fried egg. The Saguaro features layers of tempura-fried broccolini with sungold tomatoes, market greens, salsa macha and ricotta, though given Avila’s hand-picking of these vegetables at the farmers market, they could change at any time (the first day of business, it included squash blossoms).
There are fries with chives and sea salt, too, but there’s more on the way this week and beyond. The Angry Egret space included a wok in the kitchen, so Avila plans on putting Mexican-inspired fried rice on the menu, plus putting some of his French and Spanish technique to use. Soon he’ll add a boneless skin-on chicken sandwich, and he’s thinking about a fall-perfect savory torte served by the slice and utilizing squash blossoms, collard greens, tomatoes and risotto.
There’ll be seasonal shaved ice at some point, too, plus added seats for even more distanced outdoor dining. Should indoor dining resume while Avila’s still in the space, he’d love to do something more elevated, maybe just at night.
For now, he’s just happy to see where it goes and be back in the kitchen.
“It’s just an opportunity for me to get my hands dirty again,” Avila says. “By the time I’d left [Guerrilla Tacos] I was just managing, I hadn’t really been cooking for maybe a year. I did omakases, but I hadn’t really been cooking—I felt completely disconnected from myself. So here I have to get my hands dirty again.”
Angry Egret Dinette is now open within Chinatown’s Mandarin Plaza, located at 970 N Broadway, with hours of 11am to 3pm from Wednesday to Sunday.
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