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Tue, Aug 13


Livestream via Facebook and YouTube

MACRI Talk: Summer Road Trip - A Trip in Time to Los Angeles’ Nayarit Restaurant

MACRI Talk: Summer Road Trip - A Trip in Time to Los Angeles’ Nayarit Restaurant
MACRI Talk: Summer Road Trip - A Trip in Time to Los Angeles’ Nayarit Restaurant

Time & Location

Aug 13, 2024, 6:00 PM CDT

Livestream via Facebook and YouTube


About the event

Join the last stop in our virtual summer road trip to learn about Mexican American history around the country! 🚗

The MACRI Summer Road Trip concludes in Los Angeles's Nayarit restaurant with a VIRTUAL MACRI Talk featuring Dr. Natalia Molina. Learn about how the Nayarit fostered community and a sense of belonging for its diverse and largely immigrant clientele and workers.

Our FREE virtual event will stream live on Facebook at & YouTube at on Tuesday, August 13, 2024, at 6 PM Central Time. Just click on your preferred site to join the presentation at 6 PM CT!

MACRI's programs are funded in part by the City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture, Bexar County, the Mellon Foundation, the John L. Santikos Charitable Foundation Fund of the San Antonio Area Foundation, Wells Fargo, and individual donors like you! To learn more about future MACRI events and how to make a donation, please visit Gracias!


Natalia Molina researches and writes about the interconnected histories of race, place, gender, culture, and citizenship. She is the author of three award-winning books: How Race Is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts; Fit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1940; and, most recently, A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community, which the Los Angeles Times includes on its “Ultimate L.A. Bookshelf.” A Place at the Nayarit chronicles the lives of immigrant restaurant workers, including Molina’s grandmother, who became placemakers, nurturing and feeding their communities. She is at work on a new book, The Silent Hands that Shaped the Huntington: A History of Its Mexican Workers, and has enjoyed writing for the LA Times, Washington Post, San Diego Union-Tribune, and elsewhere. Molina is a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity and Dean's Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, and a 2020 MacArthur Fellow.


In her recent book, A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community, historian Natalia Molina traces the life's work of her grandmother, remembered by all who knew her as Doña Natalia––a generous, reserved, and capable woman. Doña Natalia immigrated alone from Mexico to L.A., adopted two children, and ran a successful business. She also sponsored, housed, and employed dozens of other immigrants, encouraging them to lay claim to a city long characterized by anti-Latino racism. Together, the employees and customers of the Nayarit maintained ties to their old homes while providing one another safety and support.

The Nayarit was more than a popular eating spot: it was an urban anchor for a robust community. In this gathering space, ethnic Mexican workers and customers connected with their patria chica (their "small country"). That meant connecting with distinctive tastes, one another, and the city they now called home. Through deep research and vivid storytelling, Molina follows restaurant workers from the kitchen and the front of the house across borders and through the decades. These people's stories illuminate the many facets of the immigrant experience: immigrants' complex networks of family and community and the small but essential pleasures of daily life, as well as cross-currents of gender and sexuality and pressures of racism and segregation. The Nayarit was a local landmark, popular with both Hollywood stars and restaurant workers from across the city and beloved for its fresh, traditionally prepared Mexican food. But as Molina argues, it was also, and most importantly, a place where ethnic Mexicans and other Latinx L.A. residents could step into the fullness of their lives, nourishing themselves and one another. A Place at the Nayarit is a stirring exploration of how racialized minorities create a sense of belonging.

Views and ideas shared by presenters do not necessarily reflect those of the MACRI, its staff, or funders.

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