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#SmallBizLove: Cilantro Lime

Spreading the #SmallBizLove for all the DTLA foodies! Known for their "Mexican Food on Steroids", you may have seen Cilantro Lime on your IG Feed. Cilantro Lime is located at 934 S. Los Angeles Street open Monday through Saturday from 8am-4pm. Keep reading to learn a little more about Cilantro Lime and how it came to be from the owner, Leo.

My story started in the kitchen at age 5 with my aunt, grandmother and great grandmother in Mexico. I still remember the aromas, colors and taste in all the foods the trio would make for me. Because I grew up in the kitchen, I always had a longing for it. 

Fast forward to 1997. I started work as a dishwasher at a 24hr diner, working the graveyard shift. This is where I worked my way up the ladder. From 1997-2015 I went from dishwasher, to host, to cashier, to server, to prep, to cook, to assistant manager and finally assistant general manager. 

My mentor, Mark McCabe, who I still keep in contact with, was one of the reasons I got enough courage to start my own business. He was, and still is, blunt and only tells you things that will better you. No sugar coating from this man. I hated it in the past, but thankful for his guidance now. 

The other deciding factor was my mom. She was diagnosed with cancer and one day during our heart to heart conversations she asked that I follow my dream and open a business of my own. She realized life is too short and fragile not to show everyone your full potential, and that is when Cilantro Lime was born. 

Cilantro Lime opened it’s doors May 2015, but wasn’t doing to well because I was still working as assistant GM at the diner and relying on others (who did not have the same drive and passion like me) to run my establishment. So after 1.5 years of no progress, I left the diner and took the bull by it’s horns. 

I shut the doors, called mom for authentic recipes I remember eating with my grandmothers and aunt, and revamped the entire concept. This is when “4 The Gram Menu” came to life. The goal was to collaborate with local foodies by creating dishes with them. 

Dishes such as;
-The famous Flaming Hot Cheetos Quesadilla
-The Famous @letsgogrub Cheese Shell Tacos  —“The Real @Gotbars510 MEXICAN PIZZA (this went viral on TIK Tok with over 25 Million views) -The Famous @dandyeats Flautas Burrito
-The Famous @reachhard Chilli-Dillas Chilaquiles just to name a few

The goal is to keep mom’s classic authentic flavors but add a new school twist. The goal is to be different and not another taco shop down the street. 

We also have a “Secret Menu” for our Social Media followers. This means, If you follow us, you will see more items than you wouldn’t on our regular menu. 

Our Yelp reviews do the talking for us, and as for Google; we have 4.5 stars consistently for 5 years. Customers describe us as “Mexican Food on Steroids.”

In regards to air time, we have been on Spectrum New’s segment “Running On Empty” with @jadamontemarano, on Ktla5 Segment with the Famous Celebrity Chef @cheflovely who partnered up with The National Egg Board on “The Best Egg Dish Challenge in LA” (this was great as we won the contest for our Famous Huevos Rancheros and $10K!

Also, we were featured on a TV show with @chefirvine called “Cheat Day USA” on the @cookingChanel. Lastly, we have also been featured on many social media outlets such as @foodbeast , @delish and @thrillist. 

To be honest, I’m not a millionaire but I love what I do, and if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. Remember next time you are at cilantro lime; when you’re here you are FAM!

Be sure to follow @cilantrolimedtla AND @lafashiondistrict for your next craving and all things Fashion District.

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