Where Latino Superhero Xolo Maridueña Eats and Shops on His Day Off in East LA
When he’s not working, Xolo spends his day supporting the Latino community of Boyle Heights – from the barbershops to the taco stands.
By Kisai Ponce and Xolo Maridueña
Published on 11/14/2023 at 12:00 PM
Xolo Maridueña played DC’s first Latino superhero, the Blue Beetle | Photo by Adam Perez for Thrillist
Perhaps best known as the first leading Latino superhero, the Blue Beetle, Xolo Maridueña has been an action star since he was a kid, when he debuted in the Netflix series Cobra Kai. Fresh off his DC Comics blockbuster, Maridueña is launching new creative journeys with a new song “ On My Way,” and podcast Lone Lobos. For Maridueña, whose family has Cuban, Mexican, and Ecuadorian roots, living in Los Angeles has helped him learn about his ancestors and enjoy his favorite pastime–eating.
I know it sounds perhaps like a stereotypical answer, but I really do enjoy sitting down with people that I love, watching things that either I love or that they love, be it a movie or a show, and then eating. I had to edit my list because [Thrillist editors] were like, yo, you put ten places to eat, bro. Do you do anything else? We want other stuff. But I love exploring new types of food and trying food that I've never tasted before.
Antigua Coffee House is a really great breakfast spot. They serve everything–breakfast, lunch, and dinner–but I used to always go there for breakfast. My favorite food is chilaquiles and this place was close to where I spent most of my years growing up in Los Angeles. I used to always get the chilaquiles there. I'll still pop in sometimes and grab some because I'm a breakfast person at heart.
Casa 0101 is where I started to dip my toes into being an actor. I had done some child modeling before, but that wasn’t rooted in acting or performance. It was like, do you have the Sears look? And then I joined Casa 0101 at about 10-years-old and was in my first theater production. I did a musical and did some straight plays. That is how I was able to get my start in this world. It was super close to where I grew up, and Casa 0101 is where I spent a lot of hours over the summer as a youth. I wasn't necessarily doing sports or whatnot. I was doing Little Red Riding Hood.
Casa 0101 was started by Josefina Lopez, who is just an outstanding theater creative. She created the Real Women Have Curves musical, which is a landmark in terms of a Latina having her story told in the zeitgeist of theater. There is a continued conscious effort to make sure that, whether it's Latinos or otherwise, we have diverse stories being told on stage.
Sara's Market | Photo by Adam Perez for Thrillist
“There is a continued conscious effort to make sure that, whether it’s Latinos or otherwise, we have diverse stories being told on stage [at Casa 0101].”
I started going to Sara's Market because they made fresh masa for my tortillas. That's how they hooked me. I love making my own tortillas. I love pressing my tortillas. Now they've started to work with a lot of local vendors, people in the area in Boyle Heights, or just in greater Southern California.
Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory is a nonprofit organization that focuses on teaching kids about the hundreds of jobs that exist behind the camera and behind the mic. A lot of parents in Boyle Heights want their kids to be a lawyer or a doctor. Those are the jobs that are seen as successful because of the money that they bring in or the security that they bring in. The Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory was created for parents and children alike to show them how being stage engineers, screenwriters, or an actor can be equally as successful. They offered a lot of programming; I did a program where I got to make my own TV show. I used to teach Dungeons and Dragons there, too. I used to be a Dungeon Master. Weekly, I would run a campaign for students and do Dungeons and Dragons. It was a safe place to be, whether it was after school or over the summer, to be around other people who looked like me, that sounded like me, that came from similar areas, and we could create something–whether it was a chess competition, or a beat-making class, or a TV show. There were all these opportunities for us to explore different mediums, because in school it's only history, math, and English. The Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory was a great outlet and a safe place for us.
Xolo Maridueña at Espacio 1839 | Photo by Adam Perez for Thrillist
“As a Latino, it feels like I’m always learning more things about my culture and about my history, whether it’s about my ancestors that lived here in the Americas or down South or in the Caribbean and even elsewhere. So there’s always great books that I’m finding over at Espacio 1839.”
Espacio 1839 is a place over by Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. They always have local artists and photographers selling art prints, shirts, stickers, and books at a reasonable price. It's a really cool way to represent your culture or represent your community. I like books, and they always have great books. As a Latino, it feels like I'm always learning more things about my culture and about my history, whether it's about my ancestors that lived here in the Americas or down South or in the Caribbean and even elsewhere. So there's always great books that I'm finding over at Espacio 1839.
Brooklyn Ave Pizza Co. is a community pizzeria in Boyle Heights. I love wings. If there's ever wings on the menu, I'm always ordering them. At Brooklyn, they have these mole wings and al pastor pizza. They’re delicious. I was just in there the other day, and they had pizzas with chapulines on them. They're always experimenting. Sometimes I'm like, okay, you know, brussels sprouts don't belong on pizza. But other times I'm like, oh, this is delicious. I'm so excited that we're trying new things. But the wings, oh, those are fire.
Good Times at The Hideout is a barbershop where I occasionally get my hair cut. I do like longer hair, so I try to only cut my hair when I have to work. But occasionally, I will need to look nice for something. So I'll go to Juanito at The Hideout, and he gets me right.
Los Cinco Puntos | Photo by Adam Perez for Thrillist
“They make their own tortillas, salsa, and guacamole and everything is happening right there in front of you. And it’s just so damn good every single time… if you’re trying to have some good Mexican food in Los Angeles, Cinco Puntos has your back.”
Los Cinco Puntos is consistently one of the best tacos in East LA. Los Cinco Puntos has been around for so long. They make their own tortillas, salsa, and guacamole and everything is happening right there in front of you. And it’s just so damn good every single time. I'm blessed. Like, I'm, what's the word for it? It feels like I'm greedy being so close to places like this because I realize this experience of walking into a taco place or ordering from a truck it’s not like everywhere. But if you’re trying to have some good Mexican food in Los Angeles, Cinco Puntos has your back.
Charlie's Trio, is a little bit outside of Boyle Heights and heading into El Sereno, where I grew up. Charlie's Trio has some of the best fried chicken that I've had. Honestly, I've been going there for the past 15 years, and I couldn't tell you 95% of the other menu items, but I can tell you that the chicken is delicious. That's what I have to say about this place. Shoutout to Charlie's Trio.
All of those spots are bangers. You can't go wrong.