Baby's Badass Burgers: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

In the latter part of 2009, a hot pink food truck called Baby's Badass Burgers began rolling through the streets of Los Angeles, California, selling large burgers crafted with high-quality ingredients. Baby's became known not only for its burgers but also for its employees ("burger babes"), who were often dressed in eye-catching pink to match the brightly colored truck. The brand also attracted a number of celebrities, from Zoe Saldana and Joe Pesci to Paris Hilton and Jay Leno. In 2010, the truck even had a bit of a brush with fame itself, making an appearance on HBO's "Entourage."

By 2013, owners Erica Cohen and Lori Barbera had expanded the number of Baby's food trucks, and had set their sights on finally opening a brick-and-mortar restaurant, the original goal they had when they started. Armed with their backgrounds as a restaurateur and event planner respectively, several years of experience running the food trucks, and their own $50,000 that they had saved, they approached the investors on "Shark Tank" to help fund their dream.

What happened to Baby's Badass Burgers on Shark Tank?

Erica Cohen and Lori Barbera kicked off Episode 24 of Season 4 of "Shark Tank" in 2013. Accompanied by two "burger babes" wearing the brand's signature pink garb, Cohen and Barbera approached Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O'Leary with a request for $250,000 in exchange for a 30% share in Baby's Badass Burgers.

Since no food pitch would be complete without samples, Cohen and Barbera served up their hearty burgers to the Sharks, offering a different one to each. After the group expressed satisfaction with the burgers, Corcoran got down to business, asking how the two intended to use the $250,000 they were asking for. Barbera responded that they intended to put the funding toward a storefront.

The Sharks then began questioning why the pair would transform their currently successful business model into a riskier brick-and-mortar operation, with Herjavec suggesting that knowing how to start a food truck isn't the same as running a restaurant. O'Leary pointed out that it would take exponentially more money to open a restaurant than to expand the number of food trucks they had. Building on that rationale, Cuban suggested that it's a better practice to continue to build their fleet of food trucks rather than start a new business. Despite liking the product, ultimately, all of the Sharks declined to invest, citing the brand's change in strategy.

Baby's Badass Burgers after Shark Tank

While the two entrepreneurs were clearly disappointed not to receive an investment from any of the Sharks, Erica Cohen and Lori Barbera were both convinced that their experience had been undervalued, and that they had what it takes to transform their food truck concept into a restaurant. However, they still benefited from being on the show. Often, after appearing on an episode of "Shark Tank," entrepreneurs experience an uptick in business known as the "Shark Tank effect," and Baby's Badass Burgers was no exception. The exposure led to more bookings of events, and the opportunity to explore options related to opening a brick-and-mortar location.

Cohen and Barbera continued to operate the Baby's Badass Burgers food trucks, and in 2014, they appeared on another show, Joe Bastianich and Tim Love's "Restaurant Startup." There, they pitched for an investment of $500,000 for 50% of the restaurant they hoped to launch. Similar to their "Shark Tank" experience, they explained that they intended to use the funds to open a storefront in Los Angeles, and ultimately made a deal with Bastianich for a $250,000 investment for 50% of their business. The intention was to open the restaurant in 2015, but it ended up taking the duo seven more years to achieve this goal.

Did Baby's Badass Burgers ever get a brick-and-mortar location?

Erica Cohen and Lori Barbera had already stated that their food trucks were successful and profitable when they appeared on "Shark Tank." Although their exact revenue isn't publicly available, it seems they continued that stream of success. In 2022, Cohen and Barbera finally achieved their goal of opening Baby's Badass Burgers in a brick-and-mortar format. The duo had dual openings that year — one at CoLab Public House in Vista, California, and another at Local Kitchens in Huntington Beach, California.

Local Kitchens was a food hall that featured various restaurant concepts, with food prepared by the Local Kitchens' staff. This model provided an easy way for entrepreneurs to take their business models to the next level without making hefty investments. However, the food hall has since closed, at least temporarily.

At CoLab Public House, Baby's Badass Burgers joined a list of craft beverage makers who signed on to be part of the innovative collective. The spot features indoor and outdoor gathering spaces and hosts events as well. Here, Baby's Badass Burgers continues to operate with a menu that includes their signature burgers (including a vegan burger and a turkey burger), as well as chicken sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, fries, and a variety of snacks.

What's next for Baby's Badass Burgers?

Baby's Badass Burgers' location at CoLab Public House appears to be a success. Reviews on Yelp are mostly positive, with multiple diners commenting that the burgers are "delicious" or "amazing," while many also appreciate the kids' menu. Additionally, Baby's Badass Burgers continues to operate four food trucks across California in Ventura, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange County. The trucks are available for private or corporate events, and even feature a kid-friendly version called simply "Baby's Burgers." The brand also offers franchising opportunities.

On Facebook, Baby's Badass Burgers often posts the locations of its trucks, and occasionally offers a peek at what it's cooking up next with secret menu items like the Hot Mess Fries. The brand's Instagram account features similar content, in addition to events taking place at CoLab, from bingo nights and karaoke to vinyl nights and paint parties. Given all that Baby's Badass Burgers seems to have going on between multiple food trucks and the brick-and-mortar location it finally achieved, it appears that the brand is thriving more than 11 years after appearing on "Shark Tank."

Meanwhile, if you're wondering what makes Baby's burgers quite so badass, but don't live near any of its locations, you're in luck. You can easily make a Baby's Badass Burger at home.