Tag Archives: montebello ca

EASTSIDE CHIPPERY STORY PART 1

So it’s been a few months since I’ve written a blog, interesting given that I’m a writer or more accurately, a storyteller. And when I think of what I do as storytelling I tell myself that I’ve been hard at work, because there are many ways to tell a story…

Background: After driving around the country for a few months, with my longtime friend Mike Munoz, I felt the need to do more than write about the human condition—I felt the need to be involved, as times have become such a sad state of affairs. There is great temptation at this very moment to delve into the woes of the world and our culture in particular, but I think at this juncture the readers of this humble (LOL) blogger would be better served by my restaurant tale “EASTSIDE CHIPPERY”.

As I traveled around this vast and beautiful country of ours I reached a point in my thoughts that I would take the first opportunity that presented itself to me as something to do in the most physical sense of being. However, the idea of a restaurant, anywhere, loomed large—given I’ve owned a few in the past in which I proved to have some prowess in the culinary arts. And philosophically I enjoy the idea of making something for people that they not only need, but also can elevate both body and soul—and even beyond that community can be built around.

How and why I found myself stranded in Washington DC is for another story, but suffice it to say that my road trip ended abruptly and I was on a plane headed for Los Angeles— my home in Downtown still occupied by tenants, my childhood home in Montebello calling to me to come take a rest. Well not a rest, the time had come to face many things, (mostly my own failings) and in the process of doing so I came to lease what was once a fast food restaurant (Taco Bell) on Beverly Blvd. in Montebello.

The concept was always to make some great fish n’ chips, burgers and high end coffee drinks, however as business plans tend to do this one evolved…Think European Café meets East LA. Along the way there was the obligatory partner who split with no notice and a variety of wacky events that included a blackout that lasted a day…Anyway, getting back into the world of real business has provided insight into the current state of American culture that no amount of intellectual examination could have.

Although there is too much to say with respect to all matters, which ensued subsequent to my takeover of the failed restaurant “Chela’s” and the process of transition to Eastside Chippery, I’d like to touch on a few almost absolutes:

The audacity of hope is meaningless when there is not a means to an end and or the lack of ability to achieve an end. Chela’s failed because it offered mediocre to bad food, gave small portions, and for good measure kept the shortest hours possible. I believed that great food, served in large portions, made available over the course of several more hours than not only Chela’s, but all of the neighboring restaurants established a solid means to an end.

There can be no success in a culture that does not value extremely hard work. And the hard work herein contemplated is both the hard work of developing a skill set and the implementation of the skills once acquired. So behind the Eastside Chippery brand I created a company called Mom’s Kitchen Café LLC, which translates in our kitchen to food made with love—from scratch, fresh, cooking for the pure enjoyment of feeding customers thought of as members of an extended family—NO SHORTCUTS!!! And anyone who really knows me, knows that when I say that, “I want things done right” I mean this to a degree very few people have ever contemplated!

Product, product, product, is the key to success. Continue reading

MONTEBELLO PARTY

There’s a sleepy, perfect little town just eight miles east of downtown Los Angeles and it’s called Montebello. My very being was crafted from it’s rich, fertile soil, water, and air—for this bad boy the party started at Beverly Hospital, where a nurse gave me my first gulps of libation, from a bottle, not a breast unfortunately, but I was a happy boy all of the same. I met Richard Zinman at Camp Montiqeua, while playing on the fire engine at Montebello Park—Ilene Rossoff introduced us and we’ve been hanging out ever since, forty-one years and counting. After Richard the friends piled up into a unique sculpture of souls–Walter, Christian, Randy Kubota, Damien, Richard Ramos, Albert, Zano, Pauline, Deane, Lisa, Peaches, Chris, Julie, Evette, Norik, Munoz, Lucy, the Garza’s Gary, Dennis and Kathy, Lori (my first) Robin, Susan Robinson (Oh Susan) Suzy Ross, Mike Smith, Andy Franco, Larry, Gabby, Andrea, David, Natasha, Ronnie, Mark, Lillian, Geri, Laura, Dennise, Dennis, Stacy, Eddie, Edward, Sergio, Leonard, Tony, Aram, (Mike Valdez, Mike Markarian and Craig Pike, may they rest in peace) and the list goes on and on and on—souls, perhaps not all as misbehaved as my own, but all with an appetite for fun equal to or exceeding that of my own. In short, for some reason a hell of a lot of the coolest people on earth landed in one little place, just east of East LA—at the same time!

Oh my friends, so many years, so many good times. Can the party still go on?

There are two words that should bring a smile to any earthly inhabitant’s face “MONTEBELLO PARTY”…Or for those who suffer the misery of not having grown up in the place of my most fortunate birth, THERE’S NO PARTY LIKE A MONTEBELLO PARTY!!!

I looked in the mirror and thought, “I’m forty-five and I can’t believe I’m still this good looking…Thank you Lord…And I think I’ll start going to the gym again one of these days just to make things even more ridiculous.” I headed down the stairs; every step reminded me of the groin pull that had relegated my love life to inactive status for weeks. “Oh, I need a good party,” I thought to myself. “What if I never have sex again?” I shook my head to rid the horrible thought and grabbed a bottle of Jack and a bunch of other booze, which I tossed in a bag and headed for the door—Montebello folk don’t show up empty handed!

Rosemary’s house is all of three blocks from my own so no need to drive. And then like music to my ears the air was filled with those familiar voices. I didn’t bother to knock, and then the hand shaking, hugging, drinking, drinking, drinking, eating drinking, eating, eating, eating and real conversation with real people began. And no Hip Hop crap played, just the 80’s finest…I felt like doing some lines, but of course I didn’t because drugs are illegal. “I’ll suck your dick or give you a hand job—I’m serious.” I won’t say who made this offer…Lisa grabbed me by the arm, hey do you want to go to J & S and get some bean and cheese burritos. “I can’t drive,” I muttered back. “I can,” said Lisa. Continue reading