LA City Hall’s first Pinoy eatery gets help from crowdfunding

LOS ANGELES – Decades ago, the early Filipino settlements called the area near Los Angeles City Hall their home. Despite the shops and food court beneath the building, none of them serve Filipino food. But that will soon change.

After a two year process, the city granted Kanel Arceno the right to lease an abandoned shop in its mall to start Pili Manila Grill, a Pinoy name with many meanings for her.

“I had the pili nuts, and it’s short also for Pilipino, and pili-pili like turo-turo,” Arceno explained.

With Filipinos making up one of the largest ethnic groups of city employees, she’s hoping to put an American twist to Filipino classics at the city-owned mall where many workers and visitors spend their breaks.

“I wanted to bring Filipino food to the masses, to know what pancit, egg roll, a typical Filipino breakfast is. So I want them to experience the cuisine,” she said.

While she’s building the restaurant to bring more Pinoy pride to the footsteps of City Hall, she’s also getting the community involved through crowd funding.

With her Kickstarter campaign ending this week, she’s had a surge in donors after some local TV appearances. Arceno is now about halfway of her $30,000 Kickstarter goal needed to modernize the restaurant and fill the empty walls with the names of supporters.

“Being a part of history is being able to sign your wall show that you helped build this space with your donations with your contributions and support that we were able to grow this,” she explained.

She must reach that $30,000 goal before Thursday, otherwise she won’t get any of the Kickstarter pledges. Under the city’s rules, the grill will debut regardless by October, bringing more Pinoy flavor to a workplace that has often celebrated its Filipino workers.

You can contact Steve Angeles at steve_angeles@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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