Boyle Heights restaurant helps small businesses by lending its space for weekend popups

Milpa Grille, a restaurant in Boyle Heights, has found a way to help other businesses in the area, by lending its space to them on weekends.
BOYLE HEIGHTS, LOS ANGELES -- Milpa Grille, a restaurant in Boyle Heights on Cesar E. Chavez Blvd., closes down on Saturdays and Sundays to open up its doors to the community with Milpa Takeover--which is when local popups are invited to use the restaurant's space.

"To sort of give an opportunity to people who haven't been able to sort of publicly open up like us, and it's all in all amazing," said Carlos Jaquez, owner of Birria Pa La Cruda and popup guest at Milpa Takeover. "I mean, it's an act of love for the community and then the people that live in it."

Milpa Takeover started in August and happens every weekend to help other businesses keep going.

"It's a complete takeover. And I want them to feel like it's their restaurant, it's their place and own it," said Deysi Serrano, owner of Milpa Grille. "There was a need, there was no pop ups, there was nothing happening. Smorgasburg, places like those were closed down, unfortunately."

Milpa Grille's business has more of a Monday through Friday customer base, which led them to think of this opportunity to help the community, the owner said.

There is no fee to use the space, but they do accept donations.

"I want to empower them. Let's get you in a brick and mortar. Let's get to something. And I don't know...food trucks or whatever it is that your idea is so your vision," said Serrano.

Birria Pa La Cruda has been doing popups since they started their own business over a year ago and joined Milpa Takeover amid the pandemic.

Now, they are in the process of opening up their first food trailer.

"Popping up at Milpa Takeover might have been one of the most inspiring pop ups that we've worked to the day," said Jaquez.

Click here to learn about how to participate at Milpa Takeover.

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