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Meet Maria and Omar Lopez of Candela La Brea in Miracle Mile

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maria and Omar Lopez.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Maria and Omar. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Candela is our family’s patrimony, conceived as Leonardo’s Nightclub a regional Mexican dance hall in Los Angeles since 1977. It’s an establishment built by the efforts of an immigrant family with endless heart and hard work. Its history and rich influence in the live entertainment scene in L.A. has been undeniable.

In 2008, we saw the economy was taking a turn and the family wanted to be strategic in the next stage of the business. We were fortunate that our property was in the Miracle Mile neighborhood which was becoming an epicenter of transformation in L.A. Maria, the eldest daughter, idea was that Candela could become the go-to Mexican spot for locals, but most importantly a bridge between her family’s Mexican night club and the newly gentrified area.

In 2009, Maria decided to turn an unused storage space within the property, populated by old cafeteria chairs to create a chic Mexican restaurant. Candela Taco Bar and Lounge was born. Its vibe was to be nostalgic through its traditional dishes and fresh in its approach. Slowly, that vision swept into the main dance hall and with the help of her brothers Omar and Armando the umbrella of Candela La Brea was created. Since the rebrand, Candela has evolved into a leading player for live music, corporate and cultural events that caterers to a client’s list that includes: Google, YouTube, SpaceX, Disney, and Pandora.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Even in best-case scenarios, being part of a family business is always a work in progress. It’s not for everybody. Communication and aligning our visions have been our greatest challenges. We have learned to embrace each other’s strengths and accept our own weaknesses. Acknowledging that leaving our ego at the door is the only way everyone grows has been key. We have made it a point to remind each other that failure is not an option. Keeping that in mind reinforces the idea that we must do all things with a higher purpose than just making a living.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Candela La Brea story. Tell us more about the business.
In a city like Los Angeles that is a melting pot of culture, we have the ability to adapt. This has been our greatest strength and what definitely sets us apart. We had to be sensitive to our generational gap as we took our business model in a different direction than our father, this taught us to connect with clients of all ages and industries. We have built a team that can also adapt to the cultural array that walks through our doors. We want everyone to feel at home and welcomed. It also helps that we have designed our event space to have the latest in lighting and audio technology, allowing us to be a one-stop-shop for events from intimate gatherings to large scale concerts.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
We have learned from our parents that good luck has little to do with the outcome. Our life and business has flourished based on our efforts and family unity. We attribute success more to the work we do, each on a personal level and also to the attention we place on details and our team. We are extremely fortunate that timing has been on our side in this transition and feel very lucky to be a part of such a great and supportive community for the past 42 years.


  • Taco Wednesday (ony day open for lunch) $1 Tacos from 11:30am-11:30pm

Contact Info:

  • Address: 831 S. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90036
  • Website:
  • Phone: 323-936-7155
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @candelaonlabrea
  • Facebook: Candela on La Brea
  • Yelp: Candela

Image Credit:
Anastasia V.

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