The Aguirre family was not having a good month. They'd temporarily closed the 25-year-old Rosa Linda's Mexican Cafe -- once the only restaurant in what's now a hot-hot area of Highland -- on September 20, hoping to do a week or so of much needed mechanical updates. But at the start of this week, more than five weeks into the project, Rosa Linda's still wasn't open.
And the restaurant's annual free Thanksgiving dinner (green chile and turkey!) -- which Virgil and Rosa Linda Aguirre started as a way to give thanks for their first year of business, back when both their children and their restaurant were small, and today feeds thousands of people -- was coming right up.
On Wednesday, Oscar Aguirre, the oldest child, who started working at the place as a kid, went to culinary school and now bills himself as Chef Oscar the Grouch, sent an e-mail explaining the situation: The contractor hadn't submitted the right plans or pulled the correct permits, and the city "ordered a stop work order until all of the proper paperwork is submitted. We are working with the city and our contractor and are hoping to be open by mid-November."
As for Thanksgiving, "We will do the best we can to make things happen," he wrote. "We are trying to figure out how we will feed our guests if we do not open, we are also trying to figure out how we will handle the volunteers as well as the delivery. PLEASE be patient with us as we are working on trying to figure out how to pull this off with no funding and no permissible kitchen... but the event will go on and we will reopen as soon as possible. I will send you any news as soon as things change."
Things changed, and fast, after he sent that first note. Late yesterday afternoon, Oscar sent this update:
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SHOW ME HOW
WOW! From the Aguirre family We want to send you all a huge, heartfelt ABRAZO!!! WOW!! Our friends and extended family can move mountains. This morning we had some VIP visitors, a few inspectors came by to look at our situation, they determined that we as the owners of the building and the business had done everything in our power to be operational but some work still needs to be done by the contractor. In the overall scope of things, the inspectors all agreed to issue us a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy effective Friday October 29, 2010.
WE ARE OPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What have we done?
We are now open from 8 am - 9 pm Monday - Saturday ( previously we were open from 10 am - 9 pm) CLOSED Sundays... We will be featuring breakfast specials from 8 am - 11 am...
We have a new hood system, so now the restaurant won't smell like a restaurant! LOL!! We have a NEW HVAC system, so now there won't be sections in the summer that are cooler than others, and hotter than others in the winter!!!!!!!!!!!
We opened the restaurant to other artists in the neighborhood to display their work. Our 1st NEW Artist that we are featuring is Joan Kitto, who is a great friend, active in the community, and the better half of our legal team.
The food remains the same! Mom is still cooking, Dad is still running around like the Energizer Bunny, Eric is his mellow charismatic persona that defines him, Linda is her lovable self with her phenomenal smile! and I am still Grouchy!! LOL
But seriously guys, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We Are OPEN!!!!!!
The Aguirres now own the building at 2005 West 33rd Avenue where their restaurant started as a little walk-up burrito storefront, then grew to fill several rooms. But they always leased the corner space right on Tejon, which has been many things through the years. And today it's Squeaky Bean, which somehow managed to keep right on going while the place next door was shut down.
Welcome back, Rosa Linda's.