ARTIST INTERVIEW: Steven Arroyo of Escuela Taqueria
Steven Arroyo has attached his creative input and fingerprint on at least a dozen restaurants around Los Angeles. He is the founder and creator of popular eateries including Church & State, Cobras & Matadors, The Hillmont, and Escuela Taqueria, to name a few. He has been living and working in Los Angeles all his life. Escuela Taqueria has been slinging delicious tacos at the Echo Park Craft Fair since December 2015.
Describe the path that led you to the work you do now. Did you take any big risks to get where you are?
I always had a thirst for interior design, hospitality, and great food. My mother kept a beautiful home, clean and always stocked with provisions. Her cooking and grace was my first inspiration. I signed my fist lease in 1995. I hired a chef and dived into a business I had very little knowledge about. My career has always been fueled by more intuition than actually demographic study, or strategy. The risks are very small when you start from nothing.
Where do you see your work going in the next couple of years?
I’m currently negotiating with a developer that would help build my Escuela Taqueria presents on the east coast. Current locations we are trying to take stake in is Wall Street’s bedroom community, Greenwich Connecticut, and than hopefully NYC.
What are your most important artistic tool?
First and foremost my palette; second, my love and desire to curate an eatery.
What do you do, or where do you go to seek fresh ideas or renewed creative energy?
I find inspiration almost anywhere and everywhere. The combinations of a buffed out wall of graffiti often inspires my eyes as much as a trip to MOCA or LACMA. I always try to find an urban walking path to a local museum or gallery. As far as food goes. I find inspiration for my Taqueria during the course of every ethnic meal. I always catch my self collecting the memory of flavors that pair well with a simple tortilla
What other restauranteurs currently working do you admire?
In Los Angeles, I think the people behind Sqirl do a fantastic job. I also love the simplicity of Jon & Vinny’s. I would eat at those places every other day of the week if I could handle the calories.