Ian Pike 10 a.m., Sept. 14
El Porvenir Takes Back the Future
I was wandering along National Avenue in Barrio Logan, about nine at night, when I noticed a light inside the long, low, century-old El Porvenir building. Then a couple of people coming out.
Looked like a little family scene going on inside.
I’m interested because El Porvenir Tortilla factory (1782 National Avenue, Barrio Logan, 619-233-4038), in my humble opinion, is – was - home of the most awesome burritos in the county. They’d been at it right here for, like, 90-plus years, since 1918. But for the last three years, they've been closed more than they've been open. It was hard to tell what was going on.
El Porvenir Tortilla Factory
Then the other day came news that the matriarch who kept this going, Juanita, had died. And in the window were black ribbons and a notice. “In Loving Memory of Juanita A. Castañeda, 03/08/42 – 10/18/11. R. I. P.”
So I have to stop and ask these guys how they're doing, and if anything’s happening.
“Oh yes,” says this gal, Luz. “I’m Juanita’s daughter, and we are opening El Porvenir up again. Just weekends first, but then fulltime.”
Luz Castaneda and kids
She invites me inside. You can see they are doing work on the counter, and painting, but it’s pretty much the same. Except for a shrine with candles to Juanita at a table on the left wall.
“I’m going to do my best to carry on my mom’s tradition,” says Luz.
And the burritos and tacos will be the same (meaning not ditching the lard)?
“The same,” says Luz. “We’ll be open this weekend, nine to five.”
Wow. I head out back to the street with a load off my mind. Sometimes you can go back home, and find it's still there.