Photographic Proof Of Why The Line At Eggslut Is Actually Worth It
Even at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning, the line at Grand Central Market's ever-popular Eggslut snakes around the stall and out into the crowded market. Three-and-a-half years after opening, the shop continues to churn out meals from its stall to hungry Angelenos and tourists alike.
When LAist dropped by one recent morning, Connor Reilly, 24, and her brother Shane, 23, were both angling for the perfect iPhone pictures of their sandwiches before posting them on Snapchat. The pair were visiting L.A. from Long Island with their parents, had Eggslut as number one on their "California food bucket list." According to Shane (who Snapchatted his photo with the caption Time to test the hype) the food didn't disappoint. "This might have been the best breakfast sandwich I've ever had," he told us.
The Reillys and their parents are just a few of the 750-some customers who pass through the Grand Central Market stall every day during the workweek (on weekends, that number swells to 900 to 1,200 people, according to the Eggslut team). The stall goes through about 1,000 eggs and 700 brioche buns a day during the week; on weekends, the cooks cycle through approximately 1,600 eggs and 1,200 buns.
It all began in 2013, when chef Alvin Cailan brought Eggslut (his then-popular food truck) to a stall at the Grand Central Market. Cailan, who is 33 now, began the food truck in 2011, after cooking in some of the West Coast's most prestigious kitchens: Thomas Keller's French Laundry, Matthew Lightner's Castagna, Wolfgang Puck's Spago, and even helping open Manhattan Beach Post.
“My experiences from Manhattan Beach Post and working with a chef that lets a lot of [his] cooks figure out things for themselves made me realize that opening a restaurant for myself would be easy," Cailan told the Asian Journal in 2015. "That six months there really taught me how to be a restaurant owner. That’s when I knew I was ready.”
But the opening of Eggslut at Grand Central Market proved something of a turning point not only for Cailan, but for the market itself, which was still only a few months into its overhaul at the hands of The Yellin Company (the same people behind San Francisco's Ferry Building). Eggslut ran out of food during their first weekend as a brick-and-mortar, which should have portended the craze that was to come.
"At 8 a.m. on the day we opened on November 19, , there were 400 people who showed up to Grand Central Market," Cailan told the Asian Journal. "We opened and sold our breakfast menu in an hour and 15 minutes. We reopened for lunch and sold out in two hours. Immediately after that, I was freaking out because I didn’t order enough. ...We ended up muscling through and got over the first week. We thought that maybe in two weeks the lines would go down, but it just got worse.”
Within what seemed like no time, lines for Eggslut were routinely stretching an hour or more deep, and around the stall into other parts of the market.
Eggslut's success would become something of an anchor for the revitalization of Grand Central Market (and by extension, the revitalization of downtown's large food scene).
In the years since, Eggslut has expanded to locations in Venice, Glendale, Las Vegas, and even to a spot on the opening roster of Chef's Club Counter in Manhattan (where, it should be no surprise to learn, the sandwiches sold out in about two hours). Furthermore, Cailan has rolled Eggslut's success into new projects, including the openings of Unit 120 (a restaurant incubator that launched LASA—"[Chefs will] be able to showcase their food without having to lease a space or jump into a food truck," Cailan told the Los Angeles Times in 2016) and Ramen Champ, as well as a forthcoming cookbook based on his Filipino concept Amboy.
“I’m not going to take credit for actually inventing the word," Cailan the Asian Journal about his brand's name. "But if you looked at food blogs 10 years ago, chefs were using that term, which then became an industry term, like ‘oh, all the chef does is make food with eggs…he is an eggslut. ...I figured, being Filipino and in the second largest market in the country, how do you make waves? Having a name like Eggslut threw people off."
Eggslut's Grand Central Market location is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 317 South Broadway in Los Angeles. (213)625-0292