I was in Lincoln Heights, in East LA, with my sister when she suggested we go to the Corn Man. I agreed, thinking it was a restaurant. When my sister announced our arrival as we pulled into a 99 Cents Only Store parking lot, I knew I was wrong.
The Corn Man is not the name of a trendy restaurant but, literally, a man who sells corn from a cart on the street. He doesn’t sell just any kind of corn. Rather, he sells elotes, huge corns on the cob with mayonnaise, chili powder, butter, cheese, and lime juice. Elotes are incredibly popular in Mexico and it is common to see people pushing carts and selling elotes in Los Angeles.
The Corn Man – who also goes by Timoteo Flor de Nopal, or Timothy Cactus Flower – is so well-loved that he has a Yelp page and has been featured by Los Angeles Eater. According to the Eater, his corn is a bit non-traditional because he doesn’t grill it and uses parmesan, instead of cotija, cheese.
Unlike vendors who walk around the streets, Timoteo has stationed himself and his cart in this parking lot for 27 years. He comes every day at 9:30 pm, often with his son, bringing steaming hot corn.
“I think the fact that he’s always in the same spot, every day, at the same time is what keeps people coming back to him. You know you can depend on him to be out there, unlike some other vendors, who usually walk around,” said a friend named Rebecca who came with me on one of the trips I’ve taken to see Timoteo since my sister introduced me to his corn.
Another factor that brings people back is that his price never changes. Regardless of whether you are getting an elote or an esquite, which is the same thing as an elote but in a cup, the price is always $1.50. Other elote vendors have been increasing their prices, but not the Corn Man.
If you are ever in Lincoln Heights at night and looking for a unique, enjoyable snack, visit the Corn Man. He’s at the parking lot behind the 99 Cents Only Store, around 2338 Workman Street, every night from 9:30 pm until 1 am.