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Latin Kitchen Bar and Grill

The Latin Kitchen offers a unique combination of Ecuadorean, Mexican and American food, owner Luis Sacta said. He and his wife, Yubycela, opened the restaurant on Feb. 9 because there was no restaurant like it in the area, he said.

The location has undergone almost as many changes as the neighborhood itself. Bartender Tim Delcourt witnessed many of them. He has lived in Columbia Heights for 15 years and has watched the restaurant change hands around seven times, he said. But the transitions didn't deter customers.

"People kept coming through the different changes in leadership," Delcourt said. A longtime regular stationed at the bar was a testament to his statement.

The restaurant's most popular dish, the Farmer's Platter, was inspired by farmers who come in with big appetites after long days working in the fields, Sacta said. It consists of rice, beans, plantains, steak, eggs, sausage, avocado and corn cakes.

Sacta puts his work into the restaurant for one reason. "We're just living the American dream … by making people happy," he said.