Wednesday, 17 January 2024, 14:40
At the end of the summer the alarm bells went off in Játar and the Alhama region of Andalucía's Granada province. This was not surprising as the owners of Los Ángeles bar, Pepe García Hernández and his sister Mari Carmen, had decided to close their doors due to retirement. This meant that this village of around 580 inhabitants, was left without an establishment where people could dine, socialise, and enjoy its famed 'choto' (kid goat).
Fortunately, the uncertainty lasted barely a month, as the mayor of Játar, Alexander Leo Van Oepen, of German origin, and Miguel Bastida, a local, decided that this could not happen, so they decided to become partners and, after a facelift and some work, reopened the doors on 23 October for residents and numerous visitors who come, especially at weekends, from across Granada province and Malaga.
Van Oepen, known as 'Chani', arrived in Játar as a child, following in the footsteps of his aunt who emigrated to Spain. At the age of 14 he entered active politics, becoming a close collaborator, for two decades, of the previous socialist mayor, Francisco J. Martín Rodríguez, and succeeded him in office in the last elections.
In terms of priorities, Van Oepen is very clear that the future of his village lies in "transforming the economy and promoting tourism" by diversifying economic activity beyond agriculture. One of his main objectives is to turn Játar into a leading tourist destination, taking advantage of its natural environment, the quality of its waters, and focusing on hiking, rural getaways and mycology (it has a mycological museum).
The two partners are committed to preserving the essence of Los Ángeles bar. The establishment was started by the García Hernández family back in 1957. Pepe and Mari Carmen's father, a carpenter by trade, decided to change his profession and open this bar-restaurant a stone's throw from the central Plaza Primero de Mayo.
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