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Boyle Heights attracting new cafes and restaurants despite gentrification backlash [updated]

La Monarca bakery boyle heights

BOYLE HEIGHTS — Opponents of gentrification have forced art galleries to close and picketed the opening of a new coffee house. But despite these efforts, new restaurants and cafes continue to open or are in the works for this heavily Latino and immigrant neighborhood.  Late last week, for example, La Monarca opened up its second,  sleek panaderia and cafe in the neighborhood.

While Boyle Heights has plenty of bakeries selling Mexican-style bread and pastries, La Monarca offers a more upscale, crossover version — complete with espresso drinks and organic items — of an old school panaderia.  La Monarca, which has bakeries in Santa Monica as well as East L.A., opened its newest outlet at the corner of Cesar Chavez Avenue and Chicago Street, a few blocks east of an exiting La Monarca at First and Boyle streets.

In addition to La Monarca, at least three other Boyle Heights restaurants are currently in the works.

A few blocks east on Cesar Chavez, first time restaurant owners are a few weeks from opening Milpa Grille, which will focus on “Mesoamerican” cuisine.

Over in the 900 block of S. Boyle Avenue,  building and business permits have been applied for an approximately 500-square-foot cafe — the Asher Caffe & Lounge — in a newly renovated building next to the 5 Freeway. Except for a sign out front and the pending permits,  there’s not much info available on the cafe. However, it appears to be related to Asher Fabric Concepts, which has a showroom and offices across the street.

Update: The owners of Asher Caffe & Lounge have filed an application with the city Planning Department seeking permission to serve beer and wine as part of a 22-seat restaurant.

Meanwhile, an even more ambitious restaurant has been proposed for what is now a warehouse in the 200 block of S. Mission Road. It’s near some of the new galleries and art spaces that have opened in the primarily industrial lowlands of Boyle Heights next to the L.A River.

The owners have filed an application with the Planning Department seeking to serve a full line of alcoholic beverages in an approximately 4,700-square-foot  restaurant with a large patio. It’s not known if the landlord has a tenant  lined up for the proposed restaurant.

“The project allows the site to be redeveloped as high-quality restaurant while preserving and rehabilitating the industrial structure to perpetuate the industrial, eclectic, and modern physical identity of the  neighborhood near the Los Angeles River,” said documents filed with the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council.

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15 comments

  1. Espresso? New restaurants? What seems to be a beer garden? This is just terrible. Terrible.

  2. Say no to gentrification. I like 7 different Mexican restaurants on the same block. Say no to variety and progress. We need more botánicas…

  3. Nobody can stop the gentrification of Boyle Heights. It is already well underway. As a matter of fact the entire area of East LA north of the 60 Freeway is gentrifying. I have lived in City Terrace since 2010. In that time the value of my home has doubled. Rents in this area have tripled. The house flippers have invaded like a pack of wild dogs and throwing long time renters into the street as the homes are being renovated and sold to owner occupiers. In Boyle Heights multi family properties are going for top dollar usually way over asking price. Real estate agents are using the terms “up and coming”, “unlimited upside on rents” and I have even seen one Redfin listing saying Boyle Heights is the next Highland Park. This was bound to happen. Los Angeles has a severe housing shortage and you cannot move Boyle Heights further away from the Arts District. When the 6th St Bridge opens in 2020 East LA will be directly connected to the Arts District. As for gentrification being a good thing, I think it is. Low income people have destroyed this neighborhood since they moved here in the 1960s and 70s. It was a gang infested neighborhood until about 7 or 8 years ago when the LAPD and LA County Sheriff launched a massive crackdown on the gangs. Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles used to be populated by Jews and Japanese who took pride in their neighborhood. City Terrace used to be known as the Beverly Hills of the Eastside until the poor showed up and the Jews left for and the Japanese went to downtown. It will be that way again. It is already happening. Old homes in this neighborhood are being restored to their former glory with some of them cracking the $600000 mark. New construction is happening with an emphasis on student housing not housing poor families. So the poor in East LA had better start packing their bags and start looking for an apartment in San Bernardino.

    • Fun fact: My Japanese family are buried in the Boyle Heights cemetery because back in the day as minorities, that was one of the only places they were allowed in LA.

      • Well said. And one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Los Angeles is in Boyle Heights. The whole neighborhood was a haven for new immigrants.

    • Whilel that was a little harsh it’s actually true!
      We can’t stop progress anywhere. California is the most expensive place to live and it always has been. We will just have to pray that it’s for the good for all not just the investors or the high rollers. But for all. Priscilla

  4. wtf_is_a_hipster_anymore

    But but but but… Where are the Defend Boyle Heights goons to swoop in to bully these business owners?

  5. Wait no protest at Le Monarca? Oh yeah they’re not white, got it. Good thing that Weird Wave protest wasn’t racist. Wink Wink

  6. DBH must be so salty right now.

  7. Gentrification is going to save this city. Gangs and lowlives will be pushed out, and the eastside will turn into Culver City with much better schools, good programs for kids, and vibrant community

  8. Should have started using this strategy of pricing out the violent but dumb gangbangers long ago! Feel sorry for Palmdale/Lancaster and San Bernardino/Riverside though, where the low-lifes usually end up going.

  9. Who will be allowed to live or open a store in Boyle Heights? Can Jews come back? If I move to Boyle Heights will the protesters spray paint “Juden” on my front door? Are they going to build a wall? Because I know a guy who’s really into that kinda thing. He’s tweetable. @realdonaldtrump

    I get it. Gentifrication helps some and hurts many. It sucks. But you know what sucks even more? Intimidating & threatening people who want to open an art gallery. Yelling at people who want to pay $8 for a cup of coffee (aren’t they’re already suffering enough).

    Of course, the truth is, pre-war Boyle Heights wasn’t just a Jewish neighborhood. It was a melting pot of immigrants: Jews, Japanese, Chinese, African American, Mexicans, among many others. Who will be the next wave? And will they be allowed to live there?

  10. Only racist Latinos could create a word like ‘gentrification’ to mask their blatant racism. Blame a white person who moves in, and not the racists Latinos. When Latinos started moving into the SF Vallry, where were the Latinos cries of ‘gentrification’ back then?

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