Why Dave Grohl Is Serving Barbecue in an L.A. Parking Lot
The new Valley Urban Market also features falafel tacos, lobster nachos, and Thai street food.
L.A. has no shortage of food halls and outdoor food markets, but there’s only one place where you’ll see rock star Dave Grohl serving brisket tacos and pulled-pork sandwiches on the next two Saturdays.
Meet the new Valley Urban Market, a weekly open-air dining destination that debuts at the Sportsmen’s Lodge parking lot in Studio City on Saturday, September 22. For the market’s first two Saturdays, Grohl will be working alongside Tennessee chef Billy Terrell in The Beached Pig’s 28-foot trailer.
Grohl and his wife, Valley Urban Market co-founder Jordyn Grohl, are San Fernando Valley residents. The Foo Fighters frontman, who has a Big Green Egg and several other smokers at his house, likes to make barbecue in his backyard and has often texted his friend/barbecue mentor Terrell for advice.
Because barbecue is an overnight process and then some, Grohl will spend this Friday preparing food with Terrell. The Beached Pig’s trailer setup includes a full kitchen, a 1,270-pound smoker, and beds if anybody needs to take a nap during a long day of slow-cooking meat and making side dishes for barbecue plates. After returning to Valley Urban Market on September 29, Terrell, like he did last year, will bring The Beached Pig to The Foo Fighters’ Cal Jam music festival in San Bernardino on October 6.
Beyond The Beached Pig, Valley Urban Market will open with a diverse assortment of vendors, including many you might know from the popular Smorgasburg food market that’s at Row DTLA every Sunday. There’s Thai street food from Sticky Rice on Wheels, the mobile outpost of a popular Grand Central Market stand known for dishes like pad Thai and pineapple fried rice that’s actually served inside a pineapple. There’s Lobsterdamus, which sells whole mesquite-grilled Maine lobster along with lobster nachos, lobster truffle fries, lobster balls, and garlic noodles.
There’s Buttery Popcorn Co., which makes sweet and savory popcorn and will be introducing its new cereal milk flavor at Valley Urban Market. There’s Ensaymada Project with its Filipino pastries featuring flavors like classic cheese, ube, mango, maple bacon, red velvet, and mocha nutella. There’s The Base, where guests can order customizable beverages with bases like hibiscus agave, gooseberry marigold, and thyme orange.
Opening day at Valley Urban Market will also include chef Jason Winters’ Ta’im Taco, which has falafel tacos and lamb al pastor that you can top with Middle Eastern mezze, chile de arbol labneh, and/or traditional Mexican salsas. On future Saturdays at the market, you can expect to see pizza from Winters’ Urban Pie and grilled meats from his Hearth & Olive .
“We’re bringing multicultural cuisine to the market,” Valley Urban Market co-founder Megan Gefsky says. “We’re also going to have guest chef demonstrations.”
Gefsky envisions local chefs with brick-and-mortar restaurants testing and promoting menu items in the same parking lot where out-of-town chefs like Terrell pop by when they’re in L.A.
Valley Urban Market was started by three longtime friends who all grew up in the Valley and are now raising their children there.
“I’m definitely a Valley girl,” says Gefsky, whose childhood home was behind Jerry’s Deli in Encino.
Jordyn Grohl (who grew up in Studio City and Sherman Oaks) and Gefsky have known each other since high school. The third co-founder, Deborah Saly (who grew up in Encino), met Jordyn at a mommy-and-me class for babies. As Valley moms, all three co-founders have spent many weekends sorting out activities for their families.
In recent years, the three “self-proclaimed foodies” noticed a lot of food halls and food markets around L.A. and Orange County, Gefsky says. But there was nothing like this in the Valley. So the three friends decided to create their own food-focused, family-friendly “communal dining space” in Studio City, which will open with kid-centric diversions like airbrush tattoos from artist Bilyana (a fixture at the Sunday Studio City farmers market), free balloon animals, and a free photo booth that’s inside a refurbished camper and known as A Snappy Camper.
While curating their food market, the co-founders visited Smorgasburg and Orange County events like 626 Night Market and started talking to the vendors there. The plan is to keep adding food options to Valley Urban Market while also bringing in some select “high-end” retailers for holiday shopping and special events, Gefsky says.
Other food options at opening day this Saturday include Dina’s Dumplings (riffs on Chinese dumplings including one option with beef and beets), Okipoki (poke bowls), Sunny Blue (Japanese rice balls), and Wa-ii Kamikaze (burgers, rice dishes, and boba).
The market will be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5, or free for children under 5. Some proceeds will be donated to Valley Food Bank.
Valley Urban Market, Sportsmen’s Lodge parking lot, 12825 Ventura Blvd., Studio City