Rick Burton created a mobile restaurant that gives his customers a lounge type experience.
By Megan Reed
When people see the Patio Grille, typically parked in Leimert Park Village, they ask owner Rick Burton if it’s a restaurant on wheels.
“That’s exactly what it is,” he said.
Burton purchased a flatbed trailer and had it built with similar kitchen specifications as a food truck. But the difference is that he included a seating area and creates a patio lounge type experience.
“The vibe during the day is like an open air patio, and then at night I fire up the fire pit and you get the whole patio experience,” he said.
Food trucks and food venders with mobile grills can be found throughout Los Angeles, but the seating is typically folding chairs, if there is any seating.
“What I wanted to do was create a vibe where people could come and eat and enjoy themselves,” Burton said. “So I wanted to give them a vibe instead of just giving them a place where they could go get food on the side of the road next to a truck, and sit there on a crate.”
Burton also provides music to create more of a festive atmosphere. Before opening the mobile restaurant, he was a videographer at local night clubs.
“I noticed that the food vendors started selling food at the clubs, and then after the clubs let out there would be a food vendor outside,” he said.
That led Burton to the idea of becoming a food vendor himself, and the Patio Grille was a way to keep the party going for people who just exited a club. With the COVID-19 pandemic closures, his videography business slowed down, so he decided to run the Patio Grille daily from about noon to around 10 p.m.
Burton’s menu changes daily, as he has Monday Night beef and chicken bowls, Taco Tuesdays, Hump Day Hoagies, It’s a Wrap Thursdays, Deep Fried Fridays, Backyard Barbecue Saturdays, and Buffet Sundays. People love his tacos, quesadillas, hoagies, shrimp po’ boys, and hot links.
Burton learned how to cook when he was a child out of necessity.
“As a kid I was kind of self sufficient,” he said. “My mom passed when I was about 13, and I lived with my grandmother. My grandmother taught me how to cook breakfast. After I learned how to cook breakfast I had to learn how to manipulate everything else after that. When I got older I started doing events with my father who used to have events at his house on the weekends. He was looking for a way to cater those events, so I was going to Smart & Final in the morning and I was making breakfast for everybody, and that transitioned me into doing bigger events.”
Burton is from the Leimert Park area, and it’s the ideal place for him to set up.
“The Leimert Park vibe on the weekend is a beautiful situation because the village is where our people congregate and exchange goods and services,” he said. “While we’re doing that, we’re having a good time.”
Follow Burton’s Patio Grille on Instagram @rick_burtons__patio__grille.