HOLLYWOOD —El Gran Burrito, the East Hollywood Mexican restaurant, was a famous afterhours stop for many Latinos who had last call at any of the area’s LGBTQ nightlife spots: Circus Disco, Arena, or Club Tempo.
But after 30 years of serving breakfast burritos and carne asada, the iconic space will be closing.
Owners Pedro, 70, and Guadalupe, 61, Davila told the Los Angeles Times that the sprawling yellow and red building they rent near the intersection of Santa Monica Boulevard and Vermont Avenue will be razed to make way for an affordable housing project.
The Davilas plan to close El Gran Burrito in the coming months, according to the Times.
In the article, the Davilas share stories about how for decades they were integral parts of a lower-income neighborhood.
The couple also credited their success to their LGBTQ customers.
For decades, El Gran Burrito’s patio was packed on weekends after closing time at a cluster of nearby gay dance clubs that catering to the LGBTQ Latino community, such as Circus Disco, Arena, and Club Tempo
Pedro said he created a special menu item called “el burrito gay” — a regular burrito with cheese on top — out of gratitude to the loyal LGBTQ customer base.
“Gay clients are who really made the business a success,” Pedro told the Times.
If plans stay on schedule, the building the Davilas have rented since 1990 will be demolished before late next year, when construction is expected to begin on an affordable-housing project.
The 187-apartment complex — rentable units reserved exclusively for low-income households in addition to some retail space on the ground level — is a partnership between nonprofit developer Little Tokyo Service Center and Metro, which has said the project will provide new shade and seating options at its busy Vermont Avenue-Santa Monica Boulevard station.