Low Prices, Good Food From Area Taco Trucks

Vera Iwanoff

It’s not quite clear if this is a new trend but every one seems to have taco truck fever. When first introduced to the idea of taco trucks, one may find the idea very unappealing, only to later become a very happy patron.

Two of the most popular trucks in Glendale are Kogi and Leo’s. Kogi is a taco truck that sells Korean barbecue and while it’s not clear if “taco truck” is politically correct, they do sell tacos.

People wait in line for hours for Kogi and have said the portions are somewhat small but delicious. On the menu one can find “Short Rib Tacos” for $2 or “Kimchi Quesadilla,” “Kogi sliders” or “Kogi Dogs” for $5. The sliders are delicious and while some may say that this meal isn’t filling enough, the “Short Rib Burrito” for just $5.50 seems to do the trick.

Former Glendale College student Shant Gharachedaghi said, “I enjoy the concept of incorporating a stereotypically Hispanic restaurant style and expanding it to include Korean food and not just regular Korean food but Americanized Korean food with specialties such as Kogi meat burgers with Kimchi.”

The unusual thing about Kogi is that the location isn’t set but because of its unpredictable travel schedule. But patrons can find out where they will be and at what hours at their Web site http://kogibbq.com/. Kogi currently has 3.5 stars out of 5 on Yelp, the restaurant review site.

Leo’s is Mexican food, also served out of a taco truck. The food is relatively cheaper than Kogi, the most expensive thing on the menu being the “All-Meat Burrito” for $4. Diners can get themselves a “Veggie Quesadilla” and can of Coke for less than $5. Their average rating on Yelp is 4/5 stars.

Leo’s is also more consistent in the sense that they can be found on Eagle Rock Boulevard and El Paso next to the Valero gas station six nights a week from Tuesday to Sunday. During the week days they are open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and on weekends they’re open from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. The Web site www.LeosTacos.com asks that people allow up to a 30-minute wait on weekends.

So which is better? It’s hard to say. While one may love the food Kogi sells because it is different, they might not be able to experience the pleasure of a veggie quesadilla from Leo’s. Kogi offers something original though, which many believe they can get nowhere else.

While most people never wait an extremely long amount of time for their food at Leo’s, the wait can be up to about 45 minutes after an order is put in. At Kogi it could take someone up to two hours just to put in their food order and then an additional 10-15 minutes to get it.

The Eagle Rock location for Kogi is very close to where Leo’s is. A downside for both places would be that there is usually nowhere to sit once the patrons have their delicious food in hand, except maybe the curb.

“Leo’s is a wonderful environment to socialize and also because it’s outside in an otherwise unusual place.the sidewalk. Usually we sit indoors or on benches outside,” said Gharachedaghi.

In a food review of Kogi in the Los Angeles Times Jessica Gelt said that, “The truck and its staff of merry makers have become a sort of roving party, bringing people to neighborhoods they might not normally go to, and allowing for interactions with strangers they might not otherwise talk to.” This opinion seems to be shared by many, including Gharachedaghi.

In the end, it really depends if one is in the mood for Korean food or Mexican food and the deciding factor would of course be where Kogi currently is that night, and if the patron feels like driving what could be a far distance and then waiting. Either way, both places are highly recommended by many Glendale locals.