The ’Hood: Barrio Logan, San Diego

A thriving hub of Chicano culture emerges from the shadows

Illustrations by Francesco Zorzi

Barrio Logan, the center of San Diego’s MexicanAmerican community, sits in the shade of an overpass leading to Coronado Island. When the bridge was constructed in the 1960s, residents met encroachment with creativity, painting the concrete pillars with vibrant murals to decorate the 7.4-acre Chicano Park, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2017. Today, the neighborhood finds itself in the middle of a second renaissance, led by community members who are investing in the barrio following decades of gang-related crime. Here, a tour of Logan Avenue, the coolest nexus of Mexican culture north of the border.

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 9.22.10 AMBorder X Brewing co-owner David Favela recommends…

“Imagine a Tijuana hot dog done in the best way possible—like, the maximum expression. That’s Barrio Dogg. They take it way beyond the traditional bacon-wrapped TJ dog. It’s the street-meets-foodie approach, but with things we grew up with, like fideo soup and nopales. They’re the only ones I know of that are both super legit and pushing the envelope.”

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 9.15.38 AMBarrio Dogg co-owner Pablo Rios recommends…

“One of the first people to welcome us to the block was Milo Lorenzana. He owns Por Vida, this coffee shop with drinks like watermelon lemonade in a sweet-and-spicy-rimmed glass and a refreshing combo of cold brew and lemonade. Beyond coffee, Milo throws all these events, from artisan craft fairs to latte-art competitions.”

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 9.15.50 AMPor Vida co-owner Milo Lorenzana recommends…

“The two Latina girls who run Hola Swim, Syncletica Maestas and Aida Soria, are from here in San Diego, and they make bathing suits for women of all sizes. They’ve been in New York on the runways, and in British Vogue and other magazines. They’re killing it right now.”

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 9.15.29 AMHola Swim co-owner Syncletica Maestas recommends…

“I feel like I eat at ¡Salud! every single day. The salsas are on point. I always get the carnitas nachos and share them with the whole family. It’s so good and so different— it’s not just a taco shop.”

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 9.15.17 AM¡Salud! marketing director Eric Casas recommends…

San Diego Vintage Company is a real-life time machine. You can find everything from 1980s toys to a pair of high-heeled shoes from the ’40s. If you are lucky, the owner, Karlos Paez, might be sitting in front of the store playing songs on his guitar.”

Screen Shot 2018-08-31 at 9.22.23 AMSan Diego Vintage Company owner Karlos Paez recommends…

Border X Brewing is cool because they have live music daily: rock en español, cultural, folkloric. They provide a good sense of Latin styles. And as far as the beers, the flavors are for the Latino crowd, like the horchata golden stout. It fits well in the Barrio.”

This article originally appeared in Hemispheres. March 2018.