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Life & Work with Erika Herrera

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erika Herrera.

Hi Erika, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I used to work in a corporate setting for the leading soft drink company in North America; after working there for 14 years my position was eliminated during a restructuring. I always had a fondness for cooking, my husband being a chef had taught me a few tips and tricks on how to enhance my cooking skills and coax flavors and depth into every dish I made moving thereafter. We always cooked in our backyard and decided to venture into owning a restaurant. Never did we imagine what a roller coaster of moments from highs to lows this would lead us into.

After four years of operating in our La Puente location, we decided to open a second location in our hometown of Covina, CA. We are owner-operators of our locations; I run our La Puente location, from smoking the meats to purchasing inventory to maintaining a solid craft beer list, to marketing running payroll, monthly P&Ls, training and mentoring current employees, working the front of house, training our front of house, updating our website, yelp, and other forms of communication. I play multiple roles in our small family business. Thankfully I can tap into the soft and hard skills I learned through my years as a leader and sole contributor in my previous life. I am thankful and blessed to do what I love & hopefully can inspire a new generation of young entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Covid has been the biggest roadblock; we were operating our business free of debt, we owned everything within our four walls, and had large amounts of cash flow, now, post covid, 2.5 years later we have depleted our bank accounts to keep our business afloat.

Although we now do not operate debt-free, we are still blessed to be able and operate during these times. We have been nimble during these times and changed our operating model to help decrease waste and eliminate unnecessary costs. Covid made us real-in the cost and expenses.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I own and operate a business that makes California Style BBQ. We are pioneering California Style BBQ in a time when other BBQ styles are more well known than ours.

Having grown up in Southern California, we wanted to impart the flavors we grew up eating onto our style of BBQ. Our Cajun Rice is an example, it’s a play on picadillo and rice, simple yet tasty food. BBQ is booming, and we are proud to use different flavors and woods to give California Style BBQ its own space.

.We make 95% of our items in house (fries and tots being the exception), we make all sides to order, we use high-quality meat, we source fresh never frozen meat. From highly respected packers in the industry, we use Angus meat, free-range chicken, and all-natural pork. We believe food should always be fresh and affordable.

How do you think about happiness?
Seeing others succeed, being apart of the journey is always fulfilling. If I was able to coach someone to become the best cook I’m our kitchen, that is a win. It brings me joy to know I was able to impact someone in a positive manner.

I firmly believe that we should pay it forward to our youth, everyone is deserving of an opportunity.


  • $10-$45

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Erika Herrera

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