East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy

Antonio ‘Tony’ Gomez, owner of So-Cal Burgers

Hamburgers? Where? So-Cal Burgers? We had to check for ourselves what all the commotion was about. After having one of So-Cal’s mouth warming, thick n’ juicy Double-up Bacon Burgers, an appointment was made to meet the burgers’ maker, Antonio “Tony” Gomez. Not only is Tony well-known for his successful burger joint, but also for his devotion of giving back to our community. He planned to start his business in East Los Angeles mainly because Tony was born and raised there. In part, East L.A.’s culture remains because Gomez. He hosts lowrider shows right outside the doorsteps of So-Cal and Dia de Los Muertos events for the youngsters. He does this because he wants his kids, as well as other children from the community, to be exposed to different cultures and different events that represent Latino culture. With the profit he makes from grilling patties, Tony also fundraises for the local schools around the neighborhood.

Tony described the city as a small community where everyone knows each other, and everyone takes care of each other. He called it a “tight community.” Along with the unique hamburgers, the building itself fits in as well. As soon as you enter, you feel that East L.A. vibe. So-Cal Burgers  is by the famous Whittier Sign, and also the freeways. In addition, he has a collection of old California license plates posted up on the walls and a few photos of East L.A. from back in the day. His business reflects his passion, where he came from and his admiration towards hot rods. He himself owns a Ford with a Chevrolet small-block.

At the end of our interview, he mentioned his main goal was “to provide something in East L.A. that you won’t have to go all the way to Orange County or Pasadena for.” He believes that in the neighborhood, we have the advantage of having most types of grub. For that reason, one of his burger recipes was brought from Hawaii when he once lived. Aren’t we lucky we don’t have to fly all the way to Hawaii to try their hamburgers? We can just drive a couple of minutes to get it at SoCal Burgers.

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