Olvera Street may be the epicenter of Latin culture in Los Angeles, but for many years, the vivid retail corridor relied on established restaurants and shops to draw people. The opening of Café de Camacho on February 1 marks a subtle shift in Olvera’s fabric.
Don Luis Camacho, who heads his family’s wide-ranging restaurant group, opened Café de Camacho in a long-dormant Bank of America that dates to 1959. Camacho restaurants include downtown’s Liberty Grill, Mariasol Restaurant on Santa Monica Pier and El Paseo Inn on Olvera Street.
The Camacho family’s latest space features high ceilings and plenty of natural light. Students in the Eleventh Grade Honors Art Class at Oscar de la Hoya Ánimo Charter High School in Boyle Heights painted the chairs, which host Day of the Dead and other colorful imagery. Up high, you’ll find multi-arm chandeliers.
The paintings on the wall come courtesy of Self Help Graphics in East L.A. Camacho previously described art exhibitions, poetry readings and book signings. “That’s one of the points that the city has asked us to take on, to be that critical point for artists to have another place to show their work,” he said. “We find that to be a tremendous opportunity, simply because we’re in the birthplace of Los Angeles. What better place to have people come and partake in Olvera Street. It’s a celebration of Mexican heritage and Mexican culture.”
Café de Camacho is still in the midst of their soft opening. They’re currently sourcing grab-and-go selections from Echo Park’s Delilah Bakery, including a chicken Caesar salad and a turkey sandwich. They stock muffins, rolls, bagels and pastries in a display case.
Don Luis Camacho previously described dinner service with tapas-style finger foods and some more traditional Mexican dishes. Today, he provided an update: “We will soon be rolling out new sandwiches (tortas and paninis), soups and salads, which can be eaten for lunch or dinner. We believe that we will get to the small plates later on after we establish these items first. Of course, as in any business we plan on making adjustments as we go depending upon demand.”
An overhead menu features a selection of coffee, tea and ice blended drinks. You’ll find classic lattes, cappuccinos and espresso shots, plus Mexican inspired options like a Mexican hot chocolate, café de olla and a latte made using dulce de leche. Coffee comes from Vernon-based Gaviña.
To learn more about Olvera Street dining and history, please read my dineLA Olvera Street round-up.
April 9, 2010 at 6:31 PM
Boring! The coffee is bland..not bright like the coffee house olvera street once had Casa De Sousa!
Since the opening of Café de Camacho I have yet to see any action -_-