Melo Lemus, owner of Canela Cocina Latina in Mar Vista, has been working in the non-profit world since she was 14. It’s no wonder her heart was always giving, seeing how her parents raised her in the same neighborhood she now has a restaurant in, and did immigration work to help people stay connected with their families.
Now, as a first-time restaurateur, Melo and her staff took over a local restaurant, gave it a new lease on life, and turned it into a friendly neighborhood hot spot with mouth-watering food accented with a deep sense of culture. Culture is something that Melo and her staff focus on sustaining, especially since Canela is in an area that is currently going through fast-paced gentrification.
We sat down with Melo and her team and asked them: How do you become an asset to the community? With confidence and certainty, they responded, “Be responsible to the environment. Employ people from within the community. Be welcoming to everyone. Be INVOLVED in the community!” These points are integral to their life-long mission of ‘giving back’ and adding Process Green to the mix is one more way that they assure that their business is continuing to support the local community.
Canela is the first business in Mar Vista to give back to Green Communications Initiative (GCI), a local non-profit organization that created the local Art Walk. A strong advocate of consuming responsibly, GCI inspires through communications, arts, media, and culture to actively benefit the environment. This message is exactly what resonated with Melo when she chose to give back to fund their programs.
Melo’s Statement: “This collaboration with GCI is so important to us because this is an opportunity to help our vision come to reality. Banks are problematic and we loved the idea of working with Process Green because they are a local business dedicated to the same cause that we are. Supporting the local businesses that feed the local community is the right way to go. Mar Vista has been a great community and source of support for our restaurant. The locals offer amazing feedback. The Art Walk supports our vision to get more connected to the community, and it fits into our vision of wanting to support art and the artists behind the creative work.”
Canela is dedicated to keeping its customers healthy by offering only quality Latino cuisine. Dishes that are not doused with Lard and does not take a toll on your health. Canela chose to serve food that THEY would eat THEMSELVES. “We want people’s image of Latino Food to improve,” introducing dishes like everyone’s favorite, The Pepian, a traditional Guatemalan Stew typically cooked only at home. At Canela, the Pepian comes with two options – traditional beef or veggie twist. If you want to try something new, give the Pepian a shot!
Process Green wants to give a special “THANK YOU” to Melo and the Canela Cocina Latina staff for their dedication, for adding value to the neighborhood and for giving back to Mar Vista through Process Green, where a percentage of every credit card swipe helps support the Mar Vista Art Walk. We’re sure that more businesses will follow your lead.
For more info about the Mar Vista Art Walk, please visit https://www.facebook.com/marvistaartwalk/
If you are a local business and want to also support the Mar Vista Art Walk, please let us know via the link on this page: processgreen.com/290N
For now, mark your calendars for the 2017 dates:
First Thursday, March 2, 2017, 6-10 p.m.
First Thursday, June 1, 2017, 6-10 p.m.
First Thursday, September 7, 2017, 6-10 p.m.
First Thursday, December 7, 2017, 6-10 p.m.