I took note of the City Desk article on the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Alliance attack on Don Juan’s Restaurant (6/6). I have spent many a pleasant evening at Don Juan’s and the other establishments on the corner of Mount Peasant and Lamont Streets. Don Juan’s is an owner-managed establishment that features an atmosphere reminiscent of cantinas in Mexico and El Salvador. It is an escape from the workaday lifestyle of Washington. The crowd is mostly hard-working Salvadoran men who come from all over the metropolitan area to relax and enjoy the home-like spirit of the place.
Don Juan’s now features an
excellent live Latin band that plays great ranchero-style music. The
house is packed on weekend nights. It’s only a matter of time before Don Juan’s is “discovered” by the rest of Washington as a place for good food and great music.
Like most Hispanic immigrants in D.C., the customers at Don Juan’s are happy and honored to talk to any of us gringos who take an interest in their life here in La Capital. The recurring topic, however, is why do we Americans resent their presence here, and what’s the story behind the anti-immigrant laws that have taken effect recently? I find these guys to be intelligent, hard-working, and family-oriented, who want nothing more than to be able to take care of their wives, children, and parents here and back home.
I wonder if anyone from MPNA has ever bothered to offer a job or teach a word or two of English to the Latinos in their neighborhood. I find that if you want something done ask a Salvadoran to do it. What really needs to happen in Mount Pleasant is for MPNA, Mount Pleasant Business Association, and the D.C. government to work together to improve the economic and social aspects of life on Mount Pleasant Street in a way that benefits everyone.
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