I was first drawn to Barrio Logan by photos (and I will admit they were instagram photos) of beautiful murals depicting indigenous deities, famous Chicanos, and local activists. I spent an afternoon in Barrio Logan and was surprised to see how many Female Owned businesses made up the business portion of the community. Known for grassroots activism and good food, this makes for a great three hours excursion.
While the area is geographically expansive, a large part of the area is either family homes or industrial warehouses. The business district featuring shops, restaurants and galleries are roughly one mile from start to end. The resilient community of Chicano Americans, has been empowered through grassroots organizing for years. Barrio Logan is home to over 30 women owned businesses and I want to celebrate them. Please note: there are a few businesses that are female owned but not Chicana owned, and this article is only featuring the Chicana ladies!
When to go: Since COVID has hit the small business, local businesses started “Walk the Block” every Saturday from 12-6:00PM. Festival includes cute dimpled kids selling horchata similar to I, a gringa from suburbia, used to sell lemonade. Expect to see low rider cards, fun music and artistically designed jean jackets. Mask wearing and social distancing are mandatory.
Por Vida Collective
Start your afternoon off at Por Vida Collective coffee shop (2146 Logan Ave), which opened in 2015 by owners Carolina Santana and Milo Lorenzana. On Thursday’s they host a food drive for those in need in the community. Their cups feature local artists with imagery of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Roses, tattoo style artwork. While the main space is a coffee shop they host book talks, readings and other creative events.
With your cup of coffee head to Chicano Park and take in all the murals. There are over 70 murals in this park. The area has been home to Mexican-Americans since the 1910’s and many Mexicans fled during the Revolution of 1910. In the 1950’s the city rezoned the area to be industrial. You can see the remnants of that with warehouses, supply stores, and some by the dockside warehouse even feature barbed wire fences. The city again took land to create a highway and the on ramp to the Coronado Bridge, in reparations for the 5,000 lost homes, the city had promised to create a park for the locals. When locals saw they were planning to bulldoze the area to make way for a parking lot for the Highway Patrol, they occupied the park for 12 days until it was approved as a park! One of the early occupiers was third generation Barrio Logan resident Josephine Talamantez. She was 18 at the time, and went on to found (along with others) the Chicano Park Steering Committee, along with pushing it to National Registry in 2013 and National Historical Landmark in 2016. She is featured in some of the newer murals.
Female Owned Specialty Shops: Sew Loka, Copal y Tierra, Hola Swim
After Chicano Park, enjoy a santer down Logan Avenue. The Walk the Block runs between Chicano park and 26th, which is roughly half a mile. Shop some of the female owned stores such as Sew Loka (2113 Logan Ave), Copal y Tierra (2076 Logan Ave), Hola Swim (2159 Logan Ave) which features “day to night” bathing suits and was started by two lifelong local female friends. Sew Loka was started in 2013 by a Chicana “mompreneur” and fashion designer, Claudia Biezunski-Rordiguez, who creates one of a kind pieces of work. I love being able to see her workspace in the back of the brightly colored shop. Copal y Tierra, has cute art and jewelry along with candles and sage, and recently hosted a poetry night!
Las Cuatro Milpas
Grab tacos from Las Cuatro Milpas (1857 Logan Ave). There is a reason this restaurant has been around for 75 years. Owned by three sisters: Sofia, Dora and Margarita; who’s grandparents, Petra and Natividad Estudillo started the restaurant in 1933. Expect well worth it line at this well established joint.
Mujeres Brew House
Walk the couple of blocks to Mujeres Brew House (1986 Julian Ave,), it shares its block with a bubblegum pink Baptist Church, and a converted bread factory that now serves as the Bread and Salt art gallery. Mujeres Brew House was started by two Chicana women who expressed their desire to break down barriers in the craft beers industry to support women and specifically BIPOC women into the beer scene!
End your day with a sweet and coffee from Chikita Cafe (1875 Newton Ave) for those who like a little sweet to accompany their artisan coffee drinks!
I gave up trying to give my tamagotchi alive…never mind my own small business. Cheers to all these Bad A$$ Babes!