Bringin' that Backyard Boogie to a neighborhood near you.

Relief Drive for the Philippines

 

In the recent disaster caused by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, the Los Angeles-based non-profit organization, People’s Community Organization for Reform and Empowerment (People’s CORE), The Park’s Finest, KmB/Pro-People Youth, Justice for Filipino American Veterans, and local community and youth organizations request your support to help the victims of Haiyan/Yolanda.

Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda was the strongest typhoon ever recorded to hit land, affecting over 40 provinces in the Visayas region with Tacloban bearing the full force of Haiyan/Yolanda. More than 11 million people have been affected across the country.

People’s CORE has launched the Sagip Tuluy-Tuloy Pilipinas (STP) Relief Drive, which translates to Continuous Help to the Philippines, an ongoing campaign to provide support for rehabilitation in areas currently affected by Haiyan/Yolanda and areas throughout the Philippines that continue to be affected by calamities and disasters. In partnership with The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Parent-Teacher Community Associations in Capiz, and the Archdiocese of Palo, Leyte, the STP Relief Drive is collecting both monetary and material donations. While monetary donations will be accepted for the relief drive on an ongoing basis, donations of material goods will be accepted until December 15, 2013. People’s CORE is a federally-registered, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) or non-profit organization. Monetary donations in the amount of $50 or more are tax-deductible. Please make checks payable to “People’s CORE” with “STP Relief Drive” on the memo.

We thank you for your consideration and support during this critical time of need. Please contact Christine or Diane at People’s CORE for any questions about the campaign at (213) 241-0995. Please feel free to visit www.peoplescore.net.

 

 

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Pilipino American Histoy Month – Episode 2: Belmont

Belmont High School – the infamous, the original, the jewel of Crown Hill. Established as a public high school in 1923, the home of the Sentinels was the first school to utilize the year-round system, where students were divided into tracks that alternated between periods of academics and breaks to offset the needs of the growing local population. Once the most densely attended school in LAUSD, California, and even the entire United States, many backyard boogies were organized because of Oscar and Johneric’s inability to grab a seat in a classroom with 60 other contending students.

A diverse student body of Mexican, Central American, Pilipino, and Chinese youth Belmont served as a microcosm to Downtown Los Angeles’ local politics, culture, and attitude. Belmont was one of the 5 schools that participated in the “Chicano Blowout” walk outs, helped organized by Sal Castro a local educator and activist who called for the need of bi-lingual and culturally relevant education materials.

Not just considered a “Mexican” thing, this trend in thought helped influence the Pilipino and Asian student bodies to also advocate for Asian American studies as well as Pilipino American courses.

A venue for many film, TV, and independent videos, Belmont High became a mecca of skate boarding enthusiasts as well as some of the inspiration to Tony Hawk’s 1998 Pro Skater Los Angeles level. Just ask Cheech Marin where he went.

Across the street from St. Columban Church, the oldest Pilipino American Catholic church in the United States, Belmont High was school to Joseph “Jojo” Ileto. At the age of 14, Joseph immigrated with his family and moved to Echo Park from the Philippines. Attending Belmont High and St. Columban Church, Joseph eventually moved out of the neighborhood and got a job with the United States Postal Service.

On his day off, filling in for a co-worker in need, Joseph went out to do his job and take care of the people’s mail needs. That same day, on August 7th, 1999, a deranged white supremacist went on a violent act of ignorance and brutality. After fleeing the scene where he opened fire on children at the North Valley Jewish Center, Buford R. Furrow Jr., then asked Joseph to mail a letter for him. A kind soul looking to help, Joseph was then gunned down as he was approached by the racist cowardly thief who took Joseph away from his family and our community.

For Pilipino American History Month, we remember where many families in Los Angeles have went to school, gone to church, and have grown up. We also remember that there is a long way to go to battle against fair access to resources, ignorance, and xenophobia.

Keep the narrative going.

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Pilipino American History Month – Episode 1: Unidad Park

With the downtown skyline as a backdrop on its eastern view and the Gintong Kasaysayan, Gintong Pamana mural filling your eyes on the west, Unidad Park is near and dear to The Park’s Finest. The Historic Filipinotown community has a long-lasting relationship in helping transform the space from an old, grassy, vacant lot, full of drug paraphernalia, broken bottles, and weapons, to the family-oriented, culturally represented space it is today.

It was first transformed into a community garden called the Candy Chuateco Community Garden in 1993. A great accomplishment for the block, it was ahead of its time on thinking about locally-grown organic farming, due to the Pilipino people’s propensity for farming. A little too familiar, some might say, as some of the old Lolos (grandfathers) got in trouble for raising roosters and having little side matches by the bahay kubo (nipa hut) shed they built in the corner. But hey, those were our Lolos.

As the years went by, the elder caretakers who hosted cock fights and provided a garden for the local community passed away. Unfortunately, the following generation wasn’t too interested in planting. As is typical in any immigrant community, there were other concerns that took precedent over tending the garden, and so the fields gave way to tall grass and weeds, and even graffiti.

However, some local families tried to reclaim the land for the purpose of growing food for the neighborhood. The timing couldn’t have been better because the city purchased the land with the intent of developing more local “green spaces” in the form of parks. We joined community stakeholders in 2006 and sat on development meetings to help make suggestions that would keep elements of the garden, create walking paths for those exercising and rubber matted playgrounds for the neighborhood’s toddlers, while keeping to the Pilipino aesthetic and theme. The park now has monkey bars that were customized to look like bahay kubos, rice terrace tiered planters, and, The Park’s Finest’s proudest suggestion, a BBQ and picnic area.

As kids growing up to local business proprietors now, The Park’s Finest is proud to have seen the space transform and credits the community that has shaped our own attitude on what our neighborhood should have and needs to convey.
October is Pilipino American History Month, and here is our little contribution to this growing narrative.
Unidad Park, 1644 Beverly Boulevard in Historic Filipinotown.

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Tyler the Finest

On the north east corner of Edgeware and Temple Street, in what used to be an old Sushi restaurant, you may have been lucky to hear, “Welcome to The Park’s Finest. We are a Filipino restaurant. My name is Tyler and I’ll be taking care of you today.”

Good times with Tyler

Words said by a tall lanky white boy with a handlebar mustache, sometimes dressed casually while loosely wearing The Park’s Finest purple women’s cut shirt or on other days dapper with wingtip shoes, black jeans, dress shirt, and a vest.

His warm smile, attentive attitude, and sincere interaction had older Filipinos believing he was part Pinoy.

In conversations amongst our long time friends, the question and assessment were always the same “Who’s the white boy? He’s good!” Amongst fellow co-workers, the word definitively associated with him is: nice.

I first met Tyler on a Wednesday in April, shortly after the Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives taping. Sitting alone and enjoying a Worker Wednesday plate by the window, I asked him how the meal was. He replied that he had been coming here a few times and that he loved the combo and not to change the portion and value. Sparking conversation, I learned that he was a part time umpireat the Roybal High School baseball field and had aspirations to work at Dodger Stadium and eventually umpire professionally.

Noticing the Guy Fieri stencil over the bar, he congratulated us on getting on Triple D and encouraged us to not change who we are. I told him we were looking to increase our capacity and somehow the conversation led to him being interested in working at the shop. A few weeks later, we got him on board as he joined us in the rollercoaster adventure we found ourselves in.

For two and a half months, this bike riding, organic farm growing, music majoring, goat-friending, band booking, drink pounding, hipster-looking kid worked at the shop and loved it. And we all loved him. In a relatively short time span, it felt like he was part of a family grown together for years. He recommended saving ice by presenting filled bottled waters to leave at the table, thus helping with flow and adding some extra class to the shop. He darted past tables clearing plates for his fellow servers.He had us at ease about how our customers were treated.

Because he was just like them. But he was also one of us.

This past weekend we lost a sweet and dear family member. Tyler Tebrich, we love and will miss you so much. We wish you a peaceful journey – with a toast, a lit candle, and a prayer for you. Truly one of The Park’s Finest.

Rest In Peace, Tyler Tebrich.

 

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9/3/13 We Open at 5:00pm!

We’re taking this Labor Day to spend time with family and friends. So on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, we will be opening up the shop at 5:00 pm. Everything we usually would do on Monday morning to get the shop ready will be done on Tuesday morning instead.

Hope everyone had a great weekend and is having an awesome Labor Day! We’ll see you soon!

Here’s a picture of our ‘traditional’ spoon and fork. 

 

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The Park’s Finest Twerk!

Sharing a little bit of the fun we have at The Park’s Finest!

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Labor Day

Monday, September 2nd, is Labor Day in America. For you, it might be the end of summer, a day to go shopping for deals, or a celebration of the regular person who works a regular job and earns a regular wage, we of The Park’s Finest recognize it as a day to give ourselves a chance to spend time with our loved ones.

So we will be CLOSED Monday, September 2nd, 2013. We will resume regular operation hours Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013.

We hope everyone enjoys their Labor Day, in whichever way you choose to.

Here’s a picture of our pork ribs. We’ll see you Tuesday!

 

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Diners, Drive-Ins’, and Dives!

It’s about to go down! July 8th, Monday, 7pm (PT), The Park’s Finest will be one of the features on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins’, and Dives! We are about to get invaded by hundreds of new faces from all over Los Angeles, and we couldn’t be happier!

It’s due to everyone who has supported us from the beginning. All the contributors for our first Indiegogo Capital Fundraising campaign, in order to raise money to build the restaurant, all the hungry people who decided to give us a shot and because they liked our food so much they Yelped about us, to everybody who told their friends about us, to all of contributors for the Indiegogo June Battle Plan campaign, allowing us to hire more staff and get more equipment in order to handle the explosion that we are about to go through once Triple D airs. We, of The Park’s Finest, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you! We couldn’t have gotten this far without any of you.

On Monday, July 8th, we will be CLOSED for the day so we can celebrate with each other. We’re going to have a private party for ourselves – to look around the room and see the faces who were with us plate to plate and hour to hour and appreciate the hard work we’ve done together – before all the madness comes!

With that said, in order for us to get our bearings, we are temporarily suspending RESERVATION REQUESTS and PHONE-IN TO GO ORDERS. We will still accept WALK-IN TAKE OUT orders only. We are also temporarily suspending all of our promotional specials, except for WORKER WEDNESDAYS. This is to allow us a few weeks to get accustomed to the volume and to be able to efficiently handle it. Don’t worry, however. The promos will be back, with a few more new ones we’re thinking about!

We’re planning to live up to the gift that we’ve been given. We want to be the kind of restaurant and staff that everyone up to this point believes us to be. Once the dust settles and once we can run like clockwork, The Park’s Finest will be, figuratively and literally, The Park’s Finest!

Thank you!

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The Park’s Finest’s June Battle Plan: An Indiegogo Campaign

Our Continuing Story

We feed people. But this isn’t just about food. It’s about much more.

You take a community that, for decades, has been marginalized, underserved, demonized, and romanticized and you get a part of Los Angeles that usually is only shown in Hollywood movies and the evening news. You get parts of Los Angeles that tourists and visitors will point and stare at while continuing on the tour bus towards Universal Studios. You get one of Los Angeles’ last remaining original cultural pockets, a 2.4 square mile time capsule of Mexican, El Salvadorian and Pilipino families, wrapped tight alongside the Hollywood freeway, living, breathing, and cooking food that tastes exactly like its own history.

You get a place called Echo Park.

30 Days in June

We’ve been open for business, as a restaurant, for close to two years, learning how to navigate the hospitality and food service world. Up until this point, we’ve been surviving plate to plate, customer to customer, making ends meet like every other person in Echo Park. It’s been a wild, fun, and educational ride so far. Local kids who did good.

But everything will change in a month. We will be a feature on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Everyone has warned us that things are about to get intense. We’re going to see a sudden increase in business, more traffic on our floors, more bustle in the back, and more paperwork in the office, more than we’ve ever seen before. It’s a welcomed increase, but an increase we need to prepare for.

To make sure that every patron, every customer, every guest is treated with the same, quality, care and attention we’ve been providing so far, we need to hire, staff, train them, and get them prepared for what is about to happen.

This is our opportunity to give back. We need employees. The community needs employment. We need your help to get through the month of June before the increase that will happen once the show airs.

To learn more about the June Battle Plan and ways to help, please visit The Park’s Finest campaign page on the June Battle Plan.

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