How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Guelaguetza: The next generation

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Photo by Jeroen Elfferich/Flickr (Creative Commons)


Inside one of the Guelaguetza restaurants in Koreatown


The Los Angeles Times has a great story today on Bricia and Fernando Lopez, the scions of L.A.'s venerable Guelaguetza restaurant empire. The siblings, 25 and 23, have helped reinvigorate the 17-year-old family business started by their immigrant parents, a chain of restaurants whose name is synonymous with Oaxacan food in this town. Among other things, they've opened a Huntington Park eatery and a new juice bar on 8th Street, next to the original Guelaguetza restaurant.

It dawned on me while reading this article that Bricia and Fernando must be the reason why I'm now able to follow Guelaguetza on Twitter. From the story:

It helps that they are well connected — with bloggers, chefs, bartenders, other restaurateurs — mostly because they're just interested. "Food, drink, art, sports, these are the things that bring people together," Bricia says. And when she brings people together, she really brings people together. She bought a 150-inch TV screen for the huge Guelaguetza on Olympic Boulevard in Koreatown, and legions of soccer fans — including chef Ludovic Lefebvre and LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold — and six TV stations showed up for the World Cup games.

To think that their father — Fernando Lopez Mateos, who opened the first Guelaguetza in 1994 — had said airing the World Cup was a bad idea. "He didn't think anyone would come," Bricia says.


Bricia and Fernando are graduates of Mount St. Mary's College and UC Santa Cruz, respectively.
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