Latino Workforce Keeps Frida Mexican Cuisine Running

A dedicated staff helps this small business stay successful in Beverly Hills.

By Isaías Alvarado/La Opinión de Los Ángeles. 
Edited by Marie Cunningham/Beverly Hills Patch

Frida Mexican Cuisine on South Beverly Drive is known for its authentic dishes. The restaurant's meats, spices and chilies are brought from Mexico City, where owner and chef Vicente Del Rio hails from.

But there's more to this eatery than the food. It also employs 20 people from Oaxaca, Mexico, who make up more than 65 percent of Frida's workforce. 

"Wherever we go, we are on the ball," Frida's manager Jesus Vazquez said about his Latino staff. "Because they know each other, they call each other to work here, and they are all very active so the restaurants that hire them don't want to let them go."

Ivan Robles, from the community of Santa Gertrudis Zimatlán in Mexico's southern valley, left the fields of Oaxaca to come work at Frida nine years ago.

"I did not know where it was; over time I realized that Beverly Hills is totally different from the rest of the country," said Robles, 32, who is now Frida's head waiter.

It has been a long time since that abrupt change in his life, but Robles said it still feels strange to be among all the luxury of Beverly Hills.

"I cannot get used to it," Robles said. "Too many cars, too many computers."

This story originally appeared in Spanish in La Opinion de Los Angeles. It has been edited and condensed. In collaboration with La Opinion, Patch is sharing content with the Spanish-language news source. 

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cutop November 21, 2012 at 09:56 PM
^ Such a blatant attempt at marketing your website is certainly not "genius".
David Rugendorf November 21, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Is this from the Onion? The truth is, the "Latino Workforce" keeps almost every business in Los Angeles running, not just Mexican restaurants. That being said, Frida is a very nice place. The quality has slipped somewhat since it had first opened, but it is still a worthy choice.
Marie Cunningham November 21, 2012 at 11:25 PM
@David No, not from the Onion. This is from La Opinion. The newspaper ran a piece about the workers at Frida and I wanted to share it with readers on Beverly Hills Patch in light of Small Business Saturday. Patch shares content with La Opinion. The piece is meant to honor Frida's employees. There is no implication that Latinos only work in Mexican restaurants. La Opinion happened to focus on Frida's. Best, Marie
Bobby Dias November 22, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Funny things happen in restaurants- no matter who works in them, white people go to mexican food restaurants and mexicans go to white man's food restaurants. People mix it up with each other's cultures no matter how racist media people write about things.
Marie Cunningham November 23, 2012 at 06:42 AM
@Bobby Your comment about how "racist media people write about things" is absolutely offensive. This story was written by a Latino reporter (Isaías Alvarado) for a Spanish-language newspaper (La Opinion...ever hear of it?) and shared with Patch (we have an agreement with La Opinion to share content). Did you notice the byline or disclaimer at the end? Are you implying that the Latino reporter who wrote this piece is racist against other Latinos because he happened to talk to Latinos employed at a Mexican restaurant? The purpose of the piece (as mentioned in my previous comment) was to honor Latino workers regardless of where they work...La Opinion's reporter (again...he is Latino) happened to focus on a Mexican restaurant. Your attempt to find divisive racial undertones in this piece is unfounded. Marie


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