Boyle Heights playwright and now restaurateur Josefina Lopez is opening her new eatery Casa Fina Restaurant and Cantina on Cinco de Mayo and is offering free tacos, aguas frescas, and cake to celebrate.Lopez and her team secured the location of the former Serenata de Garibaldi, an iconic Boyle Heights restaurant, painted it purple, and will now offer what she calls Mexican food “with a modern twist.”

Lopez says she wants to cater Casa Fina towards families and Boyle Heights residents. “We want people in the Boyle Heights community to know that our prices are affordable and within the reach of the residents,” she states in a press release. “We were conscious to not contribute to the gentrification already plaguing Boyle Heights.”

Several news outlets have recently reported on the role that restaurants and food plays in a neighborhood’s changing demographics. Casa Fina’s menu lists burritos at $8.95, enchiladas and other plates at $9.95 and up, and specialty dishes including seafood and molcajetes ranging from $11.50 up to $26.50.

Founding artistic director of Boyle Height’s Casa 0101 theater, Lopez hopes Casa Fina serves as more than a restaurant and is planning events including speed dating, stand up comedy nights, karaoke and more. “Our vision at Casa Fina is that we are part of the ‘Artistic Renaissance’ and a celebration of the best of Boyle Heights,” Lopez writes in her statement.

Casa Fina will hold its ribbon cutting ceremony Friday 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. with food, drinks, and entertainment free for the public. The grand opening is meant to celebrate “color, women, and Mexican cuisine.”

Casa Fina is located at 1842 E. First Street in Boyle Heights.

Photo above: Josefina López is co-owner of Casa Fina Restaurant in Boyle Heights. Photo by Miguel Ángel Rosales.

Kyle García is a former web editor with Boyle Heights Beat.

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