Sky’s Gourmet Tacos, Los Angeles
OWNER BARBARA JEAN “SKY” BURRELL’S STORY
Barbara Jean “Sky” Burrell was born to a modest and musically talented family in Chicago, Illinois. Her father was a professional Jazz musician, and her mother was an avid cook. Barbara’s first job was working as a cashier at Krogers Market, she was the very first African American ever to be hired by the chain. She attended Michigan State University, eventually earning a Master’s Degree in Strategic Business Management. During this time she also began training as a cook, trading hard work for lessons.
Following her studies, Barbara moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and began to work as a facility manager for several companies including the United Way. She was also a member of the board of The Watts Labor Action Committee (WLAC) and worked extensively in her community. Barbara was also a consultant for Mcdonald’s and was part of the team that introduced their first “drive-through,” which later became a mainstay of the chain.
After 10 years of senior asset management, Barbara decided to turn her eye to her favorite subject –– food. She had, of course, never stopped cooking but it wasn’t until she began to consider that the simple taco was far under-reaching its potential that she developed her plan to become a restaurateur. In a small storefront in the Mid-city area of Los Angeles, she took her savings and opened “Sky’s Gourmet Tacos” on March 5th, 1992. In 2017 Barbara opened “Sky’s Gourmet Market Place” in the prestigious Marina City Club in Marina del Rey, California. Most recently, Barbara opened her first Downtown Los Angeles location.
Sky’s Gourmet was listed as one of the Top Fifteen Black Owned Businesses in America by Travel Noire Magazine. Barbara was awarded the “Trailblazer” Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). In 2015 she was awarded the “Best Business of the Year” by The National Black Enterprise Group and has since received numerous city awards for civic service and volunteerism. Her food has won awards from Los Angeles Magazine, LA Weekly, Time-Out Magazine, and numerous online sites, and her cheesecake won “Best in LA – Top Ten” three years in a row.
5303 W Pico Blvd Suite #1
Los Angeles, CA 90019