Seleste Diaz & Joana Rubio

Alejandra Robles Luna


Looking at Little Barn Coffee House’s cheerful Instagram feed, you’d never know that its co-owners and chefs caulked the cafe’s drywall, painted its walls, and changed the faucets by themselves during a global pandemic. Seleste Diaz (right) and Joana Rubio, who describe themselves as “girlfriends, best friends, and bandmates for 15 years, and soon to be married,” opened the Los Angeles restaurant in July 2020 “to veganize [our] favorite traditional meals in a compassionate way, [and] aim to have everyone enjoy it regardless of lifestyle or diet.” When COVID struck their contractor in the middle of Little Barn’s kitchen rebuild, rather than risk exposure from strangers, the Mexican-American LA natives (and decades-long vegans) got to work. While construction might not come naturally to the couple, food does: Diaz comes from a family of bakers and Rubio’s kin owned Baja-style taco stands in their native Mexico. As a touring band, the two noticed a lack of quality vegan food on the road, and the idea for Little Barn was born. The most rewarding aspect of their work, Diaz and Rubio agree, is “being able to serve our diverse communities that we identify with, from the vegan, Latinx, minorities, and LGBTQ+ community, [and] creating a safe space for everyone to be accepted and welcomed.” Eventually, the couple “would love to…open a full-service restaurant with [a] full bar [and] live entertainment, and bring talent from the LGBTQ+ family, as well as continue to help anyone with food insecurities.” It’s been almost three years since Diaz and Rubio caulked drywall, and they’re looking to the future with pride. “We don’t like to dwell on the setbacks…but instead use them to make us come back stronger, and prove we can do anything we set our minds to.”

Click here to check out the entire list of Women We Love 2023!

What Do You Think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *