For Ria Dolly Barbosa, Opening Petite Peso In 2020 Was An Exercise In Empathy
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When Ria Dolly Barbosa first drew up plans for a Filipino restaurant in 2019, she imagined a place for breakfast and lunch. She chose a downtown LA storefront that once housed Rice Bar, but then last March, Barbosa watched the busy sidewalks once packed with office workers at lunch practically disappear. “The pandemic practically flipped us on our heads,” she says. Once the seriousness of the public health threat set in, Barbosa knew she had to pivot - although, by this point, she hates that word.
Flipping to lunch and dinner service, with a near-complete retooling of the menu, Barbosa opened Petite Peso last April, showcasing her take on Filipino food filtered through the lens of a first-generation Angeleno. That translated to dishes like sisig salad topped with chicken livers, Thai chilis, and soy poached egg dressed with yuzu, a chicken adobo French dip sandwich, and more. Today, she’s proud Petite Peso is still standing almost a year later, and to have put together a team that’s not afraid to push through in the face of adversity.
A year into the pandemic, Barbosa says COVID-19 has taught her patience, flexibility, creativity, and above all, empathy. She’s grown patient in the face of slower wholesalers, frightened employees not wanting to come to work, and just waiting in line at the grocery store. Petite Peso’s pre-opening overhaul kicked off a business that’s been defined not only by shifting public health guidelines, but consumer tastes changing. “It’s felt a little bit survivalist,” she says. In order to stand out on delivery apps and in the city’s overall restaurant scene, the Petite Peso team has had to get creative.
When it comes to female role models in the industry, Barbosa names a few close confidantes. In her first years as a chef, Barbosa met Chef Stephanie Scheaffer at Las Vegas’ now-closed Daniel Boulud Brasserie, who is still her trusted friend today. Upon moving back to LA, the culinary school and traditional French-trained Barbosa learned how to loosen up in the kitchen while working at Corina Weibel’s Canele (which closed in 2017). It was there that Barbosa honed the cooking style that led her to Petite Peso’s menu today.
DoorDash believes that supporting and advancing women-owned businesses is an ongoing effort that demands action. Action we can take with our product, voice, and resources, including the partners we choose. DoorDash is proud to partner with RE:Her, a local LA nonprofit created by women-owned restaurants, that is committed to advancing women in the restaurant industry through mentorship, resources, and small business grants.