David Padilla and Maria Ramos migrated to California in 1992 in search of better
living conditions. They quickly encountered the harsh realities of immigrants in
this country and figured that opportunities were limited to Latino immigrants. David
and Maria had migrated to the US hoping that they might never have to do what Maria’s
parents did in Oaxaca, cook barbacoa. She was reluctant to cook again but the need
for money and in the wake of rising standards of living, Maria decided to begin cooking
again. In 1993 Ramos and Padilla began cooking for small parties and people began
to try the barbacoa. Then the couple began to receive requests for barbacoa every
weekend for parties such as baptisms, weddings, and quinceañeras, the new business
had began. From then on Ramos and Padilla ran a catering business that would serve
barbacoa, mole, and other staple Oaxacan dishes at parties across the LA area.
It was not until people began to request more regular access to Maria’s barbacoa
that the couple began to contemplate the idea of a restaurant where people could
enjoy their food more often. With important effort and after long conversations outweighing
the costs and benefits, the couple gathered enough money to purchase this small space
on Washington and Crenshaw.
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