Natalia Molina’s “A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community”

July 1, 2022

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Kate Wolf and Eric Newman are joined by historian Natalia Molina to discuss her most recent book, A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community. The book follows Molina’s maternal grandmother, Doña Natalia Barraza, who immigrated to Los Angeles from Mexico in the 1920s and went on to open a series of restaurants. The most successful and longest lasting was the Nayarit, which opened on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park in 1951. The Nayarit served the ethnically diverse and historically progressive and queer neighborhood for over two decades. As Molina, a MacArthur Fellow, shows, it was a refuge for members of the city’s Latinx community, many of whom were recent arrivals in the United States. At the Nayarit they “could come together for labor, leisure, and access to a ready-made social network,” and this act alone would shape the face of Los Angeles for years to come.

Also, Ottessa Moshfegh, author of Lapvona, returns to recommend Dr. Mike Bechtle's The People Pleaser’s Guide to Loving Others without Losing Yourself.