How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

There are more Latinos in California, but not in Echo Park

Photo by Kent Kanouse/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Chango coffee house on Echo Park Avenue, part of the gentrified Echo Park, October 2005

Earlier this week, the 2010 census results for California revealed a state in which overall, the white population has shrunk in the last decade, while the Latino population has continued to grow. But what about in L.A.'s formerly Latino neighborhoods that have gentrified?

In ultra-gentrified Echo Park, the trend happened in reverse. The Eastsider LA blog featured a post on the neighborhood's changing demographics, citing census numbers which show that since 2000, the percentage of Latinos in census tract 1974.20, sandwiched between Glendale Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue, dropped by 10 percent. At the same time, as the neighborhood became synonymous with hip, rents skyrocketed and non-Latino white creatives and young professionals snapped up property, the white population climbed 10 percent.

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A fond farewell to a vestige of Latino Silver Lake

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Adios, Restaurante y Pupuseria - the empty storefront on February 13, 2011

I was driving through Silver Lake the other day when I saw something I'd expected to see eventually, but hoped I wouldn't: an empty storefront at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Hyperion Avenue where a tiny Salvadoran pupuseria had stood for years, tucked between an upscale gelateria and a dentist office.

It was a little closet of a place, marked only with an awning reading "Restaurante y Pupuseria," which in recent years had been updated from a lighter color to a hipper black, perhaps to blend in with the adjacent gelateria's dark color scheme. Its passing seems to have gone largely unnoticed. Searching for an obituary of some kind, I found only a mention in Urban Spoon, which posted a simple notice advising "Closed: Pupuseria." I called the dentist's office next door and they told me that it closed about a month ago, and that the space is being prepared for another restaurant. A German place, they thought.

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