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Boyle Heights Legend Carnitas Michoacan #3 Forced to Close After 33 Years

To make way for Panda Express

Carnitas Michoacan #3, Boyle Heights
Carnitas Michoacan #3, Boyle Heights
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

The kitschy and delicious Carnitas Michoacan #3 in Boyle Heights is ending its long 33 year run at the end of the month. The cause? Like many things in Boyle Heights these days, it’s an issue of ownership and demographics.

Much like the long-running local bar Las Palomas in Boyle Heights, which faded away earlier this year, it seems that Carnitas Michoacan #3 will be forced to close by its landlord. Per the LA Times, the bustling shop doesn’t lack for business, it’s just that the folks who own the land are planning to scrap the building altogether thanks to a new deal with Panda Express, who have agreed to pay for a new structure on the site.

It’s a bitter end to the 24 hour restaurant’s legacy, which for decades has operated as a meeting point for the neighborhood, as well as an inexpensive cash only dining option for the neighborhood. The physical space has over time become something of a shrine to itself, with an endless clutter of ephemera and bric-a-brac coming to define the wide indoor-outdoor dining area. There's a tall burger and fries on the roof next to a dinosaur, while inside old stuffed boar's heads situate themselves on the wall next to enshrined movie posters, arcade machines, and wooden statues.

All that will be heading out of the place along with the Raya family who owned the restaurant. A sign taped to the ordering window lets customers know that the landlord is forcing them out to make room for Chinese food, and employees are informing regulars that come the end of the month, that'll be just about it.

Carnitas Michoacan #3

741 S Soto St, Los Angeles, CA 90023 (323) 266-7188