Komodo’s Storefront Makes Me a Reluctant Fan


It seems that these days more and more food trucks are getting into the brick and mortar business.  It might appear to be a prestige or legitimacy thing to some, and I’m sure there are food trucks chefs who always saw a restaurant as their end goal.  But at its core, having a storefront is one of the best financial moves a food truck owner can make.  For one thing it gives your fans a static location to enjoy your food (a necessity for running any kind of retail establishment), but more than that it gives you a home base for your operations that actually generates revenue. It doesn’t guarantee success, and I wouldn’t recommend opening a restaurant to anybody. But if your concept is good, having a brick and mortar business spreads the overhead of your truck out and gives you a better chance of being profitable over all.

What many people don’t realize is that food trucks don’t really operate rent free.  In addition to the cost of running the trucks themselves, they also have to pay rent at a commissary or commercial kitchen to do all the prep work (and in some cases, a lot of the cooking.)   Having a self sustaining brick and mortar restaurant to utilize for prep is a great way to place less of a profit burden on your truck, and it’s part of the reason that it is far more economical for a restaurant to launch a food truck spin off, then it is for a food truck to launch on its own.

And that’s the main reason why you’re seeing so many food trucks going brick and mortar these days. Flying Pig has plans to open 3 restaurants, Coolhaus is opening a shop in Culver City this summer, and Komodo recently opened a storefront on Pico and Robertson- which I went to check out the other day.

Here’s where I admit that I have never tried the Komodo Truck before.  I always saw them as part of the first wave of Asian taco knock offs that popped up immediately after Kogi changed the game.  Fair or not, it’s the way I felt- especially in this ridiculously saturated fusion taco/truffle french fry city.  But after hearing they were making the jump to brick and mortar, I did feel a sense of renewed interest.


The storefront is small and sleek, and looks like it could be an Asian Chipotle- but their assembly line was not being used when I was there.  Instead you order at the register, and they just bring your food out to you.  If there was a crowd of people I could see them getting backed up (the system is kind of clunky, and doesn’t seem to be worked out yet) but for now it was totally fine.


Not sure how similar the menu is from the truck, but much of it seems the same.  There were 6 proteins to choose from, and each are available as a taco (for $3) or a burrito (for $8), there are also salad bowls and protein bowls (which might be appealing to this fatso if they were just called rice bowls instead of “protein” bowls) plus side dishes like fries and meatballs. And if that’s not enough, they promise daily specials. But the coolest part is the combos, which allow you to get a ton of food all for $10.  There’s the Killer Combo (4 tacos), the Deadly Combo (2 tacos, one side dish, and one soda), or the Lethal Combo (a burrito, a taco and a soda).


I went with the basic 4 taco combo, to try as many of the proteins as I could.  The Komodo 2.0 skirt steak taco (which I’m guessing is their signature item) with the corn salsa was perfectly fine in a combo.  But if this is all you had at Komodo you’d probably leave a bit underwhelmed.  Their fish and grapes taco is a crowd pleaser (you can see it on the far left with the grape salad on top) but I would have liked the grapes to be a bit sweeter and the fish to be a little firmer and more prominent.  Still tasted good though.

But the real standouts were the marinated asian chicken with mandarin oranges and rice- which probably makes it the perfect burrito order at Komodo.  And the knock your socks off Java- a shredded pork with Indonesian rendang curry and fresh cucumber salad.  The sweet richness of the meat and flavorful curry, balanced out by cool and crisp cucumber salad.  I will return for Komodo for that taco alone.

I don’t think the lunch was necessarily good enough to get me to go out of my way to track down the truck.  But if I happened to stumble upon it one day, I would definitely grab a chicken burrito or a Java taco.  And if I worked near their new storefront, it would probably be a one or twice a week addition to my rotation.  In other words, their brick and mortar isn’t just saving their trucks money, and giving their current fans a stationary place to grab their food.  It’s also making new fans.

THE + (What people who likes this place would say)

  • I love Komodo!  But hate trying to track down the trucks on twitter
  • Their chicken already has rice added to it, so it makes a perfect burrito filling
  • That Java pork is *amazing*
  • $10 isn’t the cheapest lunch combo of all time, but you get a ton of food

THE – (What people who don’t like this place would say)

  • So sick of Asian fusion tacos, and truffle fries.  Seriously.  Can we get over it?
  • $3 for a taco!?  $8 for a burrito!?  No thanks… too expensive for truck food
  • The seating area is way too small!  And it looks like they have a ton of unused space behind the counter.

Komodo, 8809 W. Pico Blvd


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