We went on a Wednesday and it was packed for lunch. I recommend making reservations. The interior of Homegirl Cafe is gorgeous - vibrant art and upbeat vibe. The smells coming from the open kitchen and conversations among tables were fresh and full of energy, what a great combination.
Homegirl Café, a division of Homeboy Industries, is a social enterprise assisting at-risk and formerly gang-involved young women and men to become contributing members of our community through training in restaurant service and culinary arts. Homegirl Café offers a one year training program within the food and service industry, empowering young people to redirect their lives and providing them with hope for their futures.
I ordered a mango agua fresca and it hit the spot. I went for the tacos - you get a choice of 3 for $10. I always have to try carnitas and carne asada, my meat faves. But I went a little Andrew Zimmern and tried the jorja's which is sauteed hibiscus flower - it's their vegan offering. I really, really wanted to like the jorja's but couldn't get into it. Everything in the jorja's was delicious but I didn't like the texture and flavor of the hibiscus flower. One of the bloggers in our group loved it so I gave her mine, no waste! The carne asada was my fave out of the three, the flavor profiles were banging! Next time, I'll get all carne asada.
Homegirl Cafe is in the Homeboy complex which also has a counter for baked goods and other assorted food goodies. I eyeballed some herbs in cute planters and fresh jams. I picked up a chocolate cupcake and ate it a day later - it was so good!
Homeboy Industries provides hope, training, and support to formerly gang-involved and recently incarcerated men and women, allowing them to redirect their lives and become contributing members of our community. Homeboy Industries serves at-risk and gang involved youth with a continuum of services and programs designed to meet their multiple needs, and runs four businesses that serve as job-training sites.
This is an organization that I could get down with because I grew up around different gangs in Long Beach during my teen years and have seen firsthand how kids follow in their parents footsteps by becoming gang members and drug abusers. If kids don't have good role models, chances are they'll continue the ugly cycle because that's all they know. Our Homeboy guide (I feel so bad I can't remember his name) said something that I just had to write down --
What stood out to me the most was how friendly and welcoming all the homegirls and homeboys are. Years ago in my homegirl days, you could barely get a smile out of me... But now all is good in the hood.
Homeboy Industries runs a blog called Homeboy Stories - Follow Homeboy Industries on Twitter, Facebook
Homegirl Cafe runs a blog too - Follow Homegirl Cafe on Twitter, Facebook
Carne Asada panile sauce (peanuts & chipotle), shaved lettuce, julienne radishes, cilantro
Pork Carnitas apple-tomatillo slaw, cilantro
Jorja’s sautéed hibiscus flower, caramelized onions, topped with avocado, cucumber, serrano peppers & cilantro
Free tattoo removal, employment services, mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence services are some of the programs Homeboy Industries offers.
Homeboy Industries has Parenting classes and even Yoga!
Pearmama also blogged about our visit to Homeboy Industries.
Crazy Kwistin also blogged about our visit to Homeboy Industries.