3014 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles
Owners: The Lopez Family
Guelaguetza, founded by Fernando Lopez in 1994, is the center of Oaxacan life in Los Angeles and the setting for countless quinceañeras, weddings, and anniversaries. A big sprawling place in Koreatown, it features live music on a bandstand most nights. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant draws both homesick Oaxacans and outlanders in search of honest Oaxacan foods. Bricia Lopez, one of the four children of Fernando Lopez and Maria de Jesus, now runs the restaurant along with her brother, Fernando Lopez Jr., and their sister Paulina Lopez. They have added a mezcal bar and often bring in top producers from Mexico for seminars. The real star remains the soulful Oaxacan dishes, including huevos enfrijolados, tamales steamed in banana leaves with mole, bowls of goat stew, and big rounds of tlayudas, baked flour tortillas topped with semi-dried beef, Oaxacan cheese, and sometimes even grasshoppers.
The America's Classic award is given to restaurants with timeless appeal, each beloved in its region for quality food that reflects the character of its community. Establishments must have been in existence for at least ten years and be locally owned.
The 2015 America's Classics are presented by Brand USA.