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After 19 Years, Correa’s Market—and Its Secret Mariscos Pop-Up—Is Closing In Lincoln Heights

Edgar Nava, who runs the Correas Market pop-up in Lincoln Heights, has found a way to stay extremely positive despite the letter from his landlord back in August raising the rent on his family’s business to market rate.

“It was a shock at first,” Nava, 29, tells L.A. TACO. “But we’ve all accepted the change and are excited about the new chapter.” 

After 19 years, his uncle’s meat market, which recently grew a new following thanks to the mariscos pop-up Nava opened inside the market in 2017, is closing its doors. Nava’s family is from Michoacán. He was born in El Sereno and raised here in the community of Lincoln Heights. 

Like so many other first-generation Mexican Americans who grew up in an L.A. food service family, the market was pivotal to Nava’s own decision to work in the industry. 

“I was in 4th grade when I first helped my uncle peel some nopales,” he says. “When I grew up, I tried getting an office job but realized that being inside a cubicle was not the life for me. So I came back to make ceviche.”

Inside Correa's Market.
Inside Correa's Market. Photo via Edgar Nava.

Over the last five years, Nava grew a loyal following among both Lincoln Heights’ old-school working-class family residents and the new-school Millennials who bought their first home nearby to take advantage of Northeast L.A.'s most affordable rates. Currently, the average cost of a home in Lincoln Heights, according to Redfin, is hovering around $772K. In 2017, it was around $400K. 

“I have a two-year-old, and she also grew up here,” Nava says. “It’s much more than a grocery store or work environment.” 

“I learned how to season food here,” he says. “I learned how to create original dishes here, and now it’s time to close this chapter and move forward.”

He feels that a turning point arrived when a random letter arrived from a stranger threatening an American Disabilities Act lawsuit, which also notified his landlord.

“An attorney informed me that it was a shakedown, which is really unfortunate,” Nava says, discussing a popular settlement-based racketeering ploy targeting California’s food service industry, in which plaintiffs go around from restaurant to restaurant to take precise ADA-required measurements and send lawsuits. 

Small businesses like Correa’s are forced to comply and settle because it is more cost-effective than going to court trying to fight it. However, instead of dwelling or complaining about it, Nava is taking this as yet another lesson in the school of restaurant ownership hard knocks.    

A tostada de aguachile at Correa's Market. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
A tostada de aguachile at Correa's Market. Photo by Javier Cabral for L.A. TACO.
Tacos de Camaron by Correa's Market: Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. Taco
Tacos de Camaron by Correa's Market: Photo by Memo Torres for L.A. Taco

Nava has already secured a tiny cafe that he will be taking over at nearby 1917 Zonal Avenue to keep his mariscos passion project alive—but the closure will certainly mark the end of his uncle’s market component. 

“We could definitely pay the new rent they are asking for, but it would leave us with very little revenue, so why work so hard to give it all away?” Nava asks, matter of factly. 

His uncle is only 48, but agrees with his nephew. Another factor behind the decision was the recent inflation of prices for red meat. 

“A pound of high-quality flap meat ‘ranchera’ is around $14 right now,” Nava notes. “When we first opened, it was less than half of that.” 

The silver lining is that the new owner of the market is also a Latino Lincoln Heights resident. 

“I don’t know how long he’s lived here,” says Nava. “But he is someone from the community as well.”

Nava tells L.A. TACO that he will sell his shrimp aguachile tostadas, shrimp po’ boy with chiltepin batter, and delicious shrimp tacos, recognized as one of the most delicious tacos in the neighborhood, until the end of November at least. 

“I learned how to season food here,” he says. “I learned how to create original dishes here, and now it’s time to close this chapter and move forward.”

The new location for Correa’s Mariscos will be at 1917 Zonal Avenue, Los Angeles 90033, set to open in mid-January. Follow Correa’s Market on Instagram to find out if he popping up before then. 

This story is part of our Neighborhood Project, our new mission to cover every single neighborhood in Los Angeles with hyperlocal street-level stories like this one. Keep an eye out for new neighborhood stories dropping every week.  

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