Where Is Baby's Badass Burgers From Shark Tank Today?

Burgers are nothing revolutionary, now. After all, per "The World Is Your Burger: A Cultural History," the very first dish resembling a hamburger dates back all the way to the 1st century AD (via Food & Wine). By the 18th century, people were even using the slightly shorter term "hamburg" to describe meat served on toast. Come the 19th or perhaps 20th century (depending on which claims you believe), the truly sandwiched hamburger made its official debut. Then, well before the 21st century rolled around, burgers became a cheesy fast-food icon. So, what makes a burger company special enough to appear on "Shark Tank"?

Well, does the term "food truck" spark any interest? After all, as noted by History, the food truck fad is a fairly 21st-century trend. Yet, once again, this turns out to be a rather old idea. Food trucks may not stretch back to ancient times, but culinary vehicles have long been intertwined with American dining. "Chuckwagons" traveled around the Wild West, cooking up meals and serving them to cowboys. Meanwhile, pushcarts populated city streets, keeping urban laborers well-fed. You can see how these two trends gradually combined into the not-so-lovingly-called "roach coach" automobiles of the mid-20th century and eventually spawned the food trucks of today.

How exactly, then, is Baby's Badass Burgers from Season 4, Episode 24 of "Shark Tank" unique enough for TV?

Baby's says: come for the burgers, stay for the buns

Baby's Badass Burgers isn't the only burger venture to appear on "Shark Tank," but it stands out in two important ways: taste and visuals. Baby's Badass Burgers was founded by Erica Cohen, a New York restaurateur, and Lori Barbera, a Hollywood event planner. Together, they created what they believe to be the perfect burger, then brought that to the public via their operational and marketing expertise. It also doesn't hurt that their food truck is an eye-catchingly bright pink color or that it's staffed with, as Cohen puts it, "beautiful burger babes." Besides, according to Barbera, "One taste of our burgers, and we know that the Sharks will be hooked."

Did the Sharks agree? Cohen and Barbera went in asking for $250,000 in exchange for 30% of their business, hoping to use that money to open up a physical storefront for the brand. The Sharks agreed it was indeed a great burger, and they were impressed by the profitable success of the food trucks. However, the Sharks could not believe Cohen and Barbera were looking to leave behind a proven food-truck strategy for the risky dream of opening a real restaurant. For that reason, none of the Sharks invested in the business.

Cohen and Barbera walked away feeling that the Sharks underestimated them and lost out on a great opportunity. After all, some great restaurants have started out as food trucks. Did Baby's Badass Burgers end up being one of them?

Baby's got a restaurant

Erica Cohen and Lori Barbera eventually achieved their dream of attaining a storefront. It's worth noting, though, that Baby's Badass Burgers didn't abandon its food trucks. The business actually expanded the trucks' range, not just in its home city of Los Angeles, but also throughout Southern California and even in far-off Houston and New Orleans.

As for the physical location, however, Baby's Badass Burgers can now be found in Local Kitchens, an Orange County establishment that's half food hall, half ghost kitchen — as reported by Eater Los Angeles. This food service cooperative brings together a handful of brands and combines all of their menus into one. Plus, the group running the joint handles all the operations for those brands, in exchange for a cut of the profits. It's a creative way to help up-and-comers slowly expand into more permanent spaces while giving diners plenty of options.

Speaking to the Orange County Register about the move, Cohen explained that a storefront had always been the company's goal from the very beginning. It was only economic hardship that had delayed this, but now, "People reach out to us directly saying they're so happy they can get their Baby's fix" at a permanent locale, Cohen revealed. She hailed the Local Kitchens idea as genius, but noted, "As a brand, you have to make sure your product is represented exactly." The Sharks might not have shared Cohen and Barbera's specific vision for Baby's Badass Burgers, but at least someone did!