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Ray Garcia’s Genre-Bending Mexican Restaurant Broken Spanish Has Permanently Closed

The powerful five-year-old restaurant has been lost because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

The famed chicharron porchetta dish from Broken Spanish in Los Angeles.
Chicharrón at Broken Spanish
Stan Lee
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.

It’s been five years since chef Ray Garcia opened Broken Spanish in Downtown LA’s South Park neighborhood, and the world has changed. High rises now dot the skyline near the restaurant and more are on the way, meant to ring the entertainment industrial complex known as L.A. Live. The construction is ongoing but for now, the convention center, sports arena, music complex, and tourist corridors are all closed as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Owing to that dramatic drop in foot traffic, dinnertime activity, and the uncertain economic future that awaits, Broken Spanish is closed too.

Garcia made the announcement of Broken Spanish’s closure on Instagram early this morning, saying in a heartfelt post:

Broken Spanish was more than a restaurant, it was a family. Together we pushed each other to be the best ambassadors of a cuisine and culture that up to that point had been so often overlooked, underappreciated and underrepresented in the culinary community.

Like with many of the best dreams however, Broken Spanish has unfortunately come to an abrupt end. As we close our doors it is not just with sadness but with tremendous gratitude for all that have come out to support us throughout the past five years.

While the restaurant was most often considered to fall into the already-nebulous “modern Mexican” category, the reality is that Broken Spanish defied easy categorization. The large space (formerly hit spot Rivera from chefJohn Sedlar) held Garcia’s dreams and a belief that the food he grew up eating as an Angeleno could be worked through a finer dining lens and turned out into plates that everyone would love, even if they did not feel their history. Until the very end, having pivoted to mostly takeout and delivery, Garcia’s menu pulsed with oxtail tamales that signature chicharron that Jonathan Gold extolled as “a glorious, Mexican-spiced porchetta.”

While Broken Spanish has gone away, Garcia has not. He is now making the same pivot that many chefs have — a new takeaway option called MILA that he hopes could be a new foundation for something different, something broader, down the line.

“Having extra square footage right now isn’t a benefit,” Garcia told Eater recently. “I’m in Downtown LA, across from a convention center that, who knows when it will open again. A sports arena, who knows when we can go to games again. A music center, who knows that will come back alive. A business district where nearly everyone is working remotely from home.”

Broken Spanish joins some of the biggest names in Los Angeles restaurants in announcing a sudden closure as a result of the still-raging coronavirus pandemic. Just within the past week, 31-year-old Patina has shuttered for good in Downtown, as has the seminal Baco Mercat. Dong Il Jang is done after 41 years in Koreatown, and everyone from Simmzy’s to Trois Mec is being forced to consider their own closures as well.

It now seems, in such a rapidly changing world, that the only thing left to do is demand a federal bailout for small restaurants, before there isn’t an industry left to save.

Broken Spanish

1050 Flower Street, , CA 90015 (213) 749-1460 Visit Website