One of the service areas being directly hit by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting government-imposed restrictions is the restaurant industry, with many businesses forced to close or cut down hours and laying off employees.
This week, city and county officials ordered all restaurants to stop offering in-store dining, allowing them to continue providing only take out and delivery service.
On Monday, one of Boyle Heights’ most popular eateries –the Guisados taquería– announced it was temporarily closing all of its seven city-wide locations, including the original eatery on César Chávez Avenue.
On an Instagram post, owner Armando de la Torre Sr. explained it was a difficult decision to make.
De la Torre further explained his decision to The Eastsider.
“I can’t make enough to pay my employees, pay my rent,” de la Torre told The Eastsider. “You have no idea how bad I feel. I’ve got families that depend on their fathers and husbands.”
De la Torre said that even before the new restrictions, business was down as much as 70% at his locations, including eateries in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood.
Switch to take out and delivery
Other Boyle Heights eateries took to their social media to announce changes in their operations. One of the neighborhood’s oldest and most liked restaurants, El Tepeyac, said it would continue operations at its two locations and it would run its own delivery service, but only out of the La Mirada location.
For deliveries in Boyle Heights, the post said, the restaurant would use Uber and Postmates for delivery. The restaurant will also continue its very popular take out window, which often gets lines of customers around lunch and dinner hours.
A newer Boyle Heights restaurant, Xtisou, said in an Instagram post that in order to follow new guidelines that it would pack all food orders to go, and warned that menu items availability would depend on the availability of fresh produce .
Another Boyle Heights eatery, Milpa Grille on César Chávez Avenue, also said it would continue take out and delivery service in an Instagram post.
Businesses join forces
This week, a group of Boyle Heights eateries announced the formation of Connect Boyle Heights, described as “an initiative of entrepreneurial unity by local minded and spirited business owners in the historic neighborhoods of Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.”
“As a means to facilitate consumer access, and support one another and the community, the Connect Boyle Heights businesses are about providing quality food and services, exceptional customer service, and a spirit of service, all under one banner,” the post continued.
The group’s Instagram page (@connect_boyleheights) lists a growing number of affiliated businesses. Besides Xtisou and Milpa Grille, participating restaurants include Un Solo Sol, Street Tacos and Grill; coffee houses Café Rebelde, Weird Wave Coffee Brewers, Capuyo Café, Mugs Coffee Roasters and The Evergreen Café; bakeries La Mascota and Cake Girl and frozen treats establishments Raspados Don Manuel and La Michoacana.
Already, some Boyle Heights residents have expressed their need to support local eateries in their own social media