David Padilla and Maria Ramos migrated to California in 1992 in search of better living conditions. They quickly encountered the harsh realities of immigrants in this country and figured that opportunities were limited to Latino immigrants. David and Maria had migrated to the US hoping that they might never have to do what Maria’s parents did in Oaxaca, cook barbacoa. She was reluctant to cook again but the need for money and in the wake of rising standards of living, Maria decided to begin cooking again. In 1993 Ramos and Padilla began cooking for small parties and people began to try the barbacoa. Then the couple began to receive requests for barbacoa every weekend for parties such as baptisms, weddings, and quinceañeras, the new business had began. From then on Ramos and Padilla ran a catering business that would serve barbacoa, mole, and other staple Oaxacan dishes at parties across the LA area.
It was not until people began to request more regular access to Maria’s barbacoa that the couple began to contemplate the idea of a restaurant where people could enjoy their food more often. With important effort and after long conversations outweighing the costs and benefits, the couple gathered enough money to purchase this small space on Washington and Crenshaw. Gish Bac was now part of a growing number of Oaxacan restaurants that are surfacing across town, changing the histories of neighborhoods. On January 2010 Gish Bac opened its door to folks eager to try the couple’s cooking and the legacy of family recipe that dates back two generations would continue to exist. Three years now after going through a rough start, they have been able to begin to build a reputation among Oaxacan restaurants in the city and they have been featured in many articles and on TV.
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