Good Taste Cover

Here’s your weekly rundown of Eastside dining and shopping news.

Owner of local birrierías dies

J. Rosario Luis Gutiérrez, who built a chain of Mexican restaurants specializing in birria, died the age of 81 of complications from COVID-19 according to Humberto Barrera, a journalist who frequented Birriería Chalio on First Street. Barrera said he was notified by a son of “Don Chalio’s” passing early Tuesday. There was no immediate information on funeral services.

Gutiérrez was an immigrant from Nochistlán, Zacatecas. He had restaurants in East LA, Whittier, Pomona, and a handful in Texas. In a 2016 interview, Gutiérrez recalled arriving in the U.S. in 1968 and selling tacos, nopales and fruit near First and Eastman, making $20 a week, before getting a job at a leather tannery. On weekends, he and his wife started making and selling birria.

Gutiérrez had a second grade education, never learned how to read and write, and never learned English. “But I was good at math,” he boasted on the video.

Mohawk Bend shuts down for who knows how long

The large Echo Park restaurant and brewpub closed on Sunday "until further notice" but vowed to reopen at some point, according to a post on the Mohawk Bend Instagram. The closure comes only a week after LA restaurants were allowed to resume outdoor service. "We now realize that in order to truly rise from these Covid ashes, we need to close our doors for now. We do see this as an opportunity to keep everyone in our community as safe as possible, take a breath, and rebuild. We will be back!!!"

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Los Feliz's Vinoteca Farfalla and Tropicalia takes on a new name

Owner John Borghetti partnered with Executive Chef Simone Bonelli to open Nossa earlier in the month. From the Brazilian classic gluten free cheese bread, pão de queijo, to homemade sauces like bolognese and truffle ragu, the restaurant blends Bonelli's Italian culture with Borghetti's Southern Brazil and California roots. In addition to delivery and take-out, their outdoor patio in the adjacent parking lot is ready to welcome patrons to come experience the Italo-Gaucho heritage in SoCal.

Highland Park taco pop-up shop sells out within seconds for weekend deliveries

Villa Tacos has been selling out for weeks straight since they started gaining popularity Their "Los Angeles-style taco" starts off with a layer of grilled cheese and refried black beans that serve as the base for meats and other goodies, says LA Taco.  Also setting Villa Tacos apart is a "guac is never extra" policy. Owner, Victor Villa grew up in Atwater Village, but he operates his taco stand at his grandmother's house in Highland Park. The pop-up shop currently only takes online orders through Instagram DM's on Tuesday starting at 11:59AM. 

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Cecilia Padilla-Brill is a communications writer and journalist. She writes news, health, education and feature stories. Cecilia is currently working on her first novel. She has lived in Echo Park since 1999.

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