This article looks at restaurants as urban forms of public space in which ethnic entrepreneurs act as place-makers. The author highlights El Nayarit, a Mexican restaurant in the Echo Park section of Los Angeles, from 1947 to the present, as a nucleus of a community where racial, ethnic, class, and generational boundaries were breached. This restaurant and its spin-off enterprises also helped to define the neighborhood as ethnic space. In contrast, urban redevelopment and gentrification, beginning in the 1990s, have resulted in erasure of the area’s history and the sense of space in which ethnic identity and multiethnic bonds were once fostered.
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