History of 702 Anacapa Street and the La Paloma Café
In 1938 Jennie Luera purchased the 13,000sf corner property for $7,000 with money she saved working at the laundry on State Street, to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning a restaurant. The vintage brick and stucco building, designed by Chester Parker, was constructed in 1915 and housed an Italian grocery store and bakery. Opened in 1940, Jennie’s La Paloma Cafe was the premier Mexican restaurant on Ortega Street’s “restaurant row” and was frequented by stage and screen stars like Leo Carrillo who is rumored to be featured astride his horse on the exterior mural. During Old Spanish Days, vaqueros and cattlemen tied their horses in front of the corner bar and stumbled in to whet their whistles and to visit Jennie, “La Patrona.” Ahead of their time, the original La Paloma Cafe was led by three generations of hardworking Luera family women; the family matriarch Jennie Luera, and then her two daughters Hortencia and Virginia. The building continues to be owned by the Luera family, specifically by Jennie’s granddaughter, Josephine Reynoso.