Los Angeles’s at-risk youth have been plagued by gang violence for decades. Father Greg, founder of Homeboy Industries, is a beacon in the darkness. Using the motto of “Jobs not Jails,” Homeboy offers a compassionate, functional method of gang rehabilitation. The site offers tattoo removal, counseling for individuals and families, legal counseling, re-entry clinics and the list goes on. Results of these efforts are concrete, and the best way to see them in action, is to visit Homeboy Industries.
Though within eyesight of the county correctional facility, it is a world away. The restaurant, Homegirl Café is hugely popular. The food is fresh Mexican cuisine, and though there are delights too numerous to mention (just check the menu on the website!), my all out favorite is the Chilaquiles – a blend of fresh chips, salsa, crema fresca, a crumbly Mexican cheese called cotija, cilantro, onions and served with black beans or home fried style potatoes. These are authentically amazing. I order this with a side of scrambled eggs and mix it all together: INSANITY – in a good way.
Knowing that the employees are working hard, against the lousy hand they’ve been dealt, to have better lives, really accentuates the deliciousness. Connected to the restaurant, is a bakery selling temptations, such as the cranberry walnut cookie and a smashing red velvet cupcake.
A small shop, selling clothing and accessories with the Homeboy Industries logo alongside inspiring books, written by reformed gang members as well as Father Greg, is also well worth a visit.