The millennial-approved culinary phenom is making mouths water by the beach
One quick look at its Instagram account and you’ll know why Eggslut is the app’s fourth-most photographed restaurant in the nation: appetizing image after scrumptious picture of melted cheese, juicy sausage and chewy bacon. It’s enough to make anybody’s mouth water.
Now Eggslut has arrived in Venice, a once humble food truck occupying prime brick-and-mortar real estate a stone’s throw from Windward Circle.
When Chef Alvin Cailan saw a biker slam into a car door because he was trying to snap a photo of the truck, he thought to himself, “Yeah, this is going to work.” This was back in 2011, and Cailan and his cousin Jeff Vales, who were roommates at the time, had decided to revolutionize breakfast-on-the-go with a mobile sandwich food truck. They painted the name Eggslut on the side.
“I came up with the name on Friday, Jeff had the logo ready on Friday night, and we got the truck on Monday,” says Cailan, who’s now the co-owner of three Eggslut locations, with a fourth scheduled to open in Glendale later this year.
The original Eggslut was an old white truck with a griddle and grill, and they called it Old Bessie. They opened for business in front of the Intelligentsia in Silver Lake and then moved to Fairfax in Mid-City.
Then, according to food legend, in January 2012, Ruth Reichl of Gourmet magazine ordered the Slut — a coddled egg on top of a smooth potato purée, poached in a glass jar, topped with gray salt and chives, served with slices of baguette — and blogged about it. And just like that, Eggslut’s Twitter account jumped from 70 followers to 2,000.
In 2013, Cailan and Vales opened their first Eggslut location: a counter with 20 seats at Grand Central Market. It’s been a runaway success since day one, with lines of 50 to 100 people on the regular, including sightings of celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Elijah Wood.
Next up was Eggslut at the Cosmopolitan in Vegas, and then in November the Venice location opened, catering to the bustling business community of Silicon Beach.
“The Snapchat headquarters are one block or so away,” says Jaime Gonzalves, Eggslut’s manager of new store openings. “We focus on the locals, tourists, foot traffic. There are two major bus stops near here, Hotel Erwin, hostels, and we’re next to the Venice sign.”
While Vales stays focused on the growth of the Eggslut brand, Cailan is growing an empire. He opened and then sold Ramen Champ; opened Amboy at Unit 120, a kitchen incubator in Chinatown; and collaborates with Jeremy Fall (Nighthawk Breakfast Bar) on the menu for Tinfoil Liquor & Grocery, a sandwich shop in Highland Park.
An Eggslut breakfast is not for those watching their waistline. One could order only a buttermilk biscuit with honey butter, or even a side salad, and call it a meal. But most customers choose one of Eggslut’s two most popular menu picks: the aforementioned Slut or the Fairfax, soft scrambled eggs and chives, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and Sriracha mayo in a warm brioche bun.
Those brioche buns also hold together conventional sandwiches like the Bacon or Sausage, Egg & Cheese, and more adventurous ones like The Gaucho — seared wagyu tri-tip steak, over-medium egg, chimichurri, red onions and arugula — or the Cheeseburger — ground angus beef over medium egg, caramelized onions, bread and butter pickles, cheddar cheese and dijonnaise. (All sandwiches can be served on a buttermilk biscuit instead of a brioche bun.)
Eggslut Venice isn’t very large, but there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen — 85% of the menu is done in-house. There’s a cook at each station: egg, meat and bread. Two people prep one dish. And then two to three people work in the front of the house. More than 1,000 eggs get cooked from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, for an average of 500 to 1,000 sandwiches every eight hours.
“We run our kitchen like a French brigade,” says Gonzalves.
Without an official grand opening, things got off to a slow start in late November and December — partly because of the rain — but business is starting to pick up these days. Rain or shine, you’ll find a hearty line of Snapchatters and beach tourists alike.
Eggslut Venice 1611 Pacific Ave, Venice (424) 387-8183 eggslut.com