Each day brings a new treat to Guadalupe's Mexican Restaurant. Saturday?Monday, chefs whip up menudo, a traditional Mexican soup made with beef stomach. Tuesday meals are a bargain, with fillings overflowing from crispy $1 tacos. Diners stuck in doldrums midweek can revive their taste buds at the Wednesday lunchtime buffet, with cheese enchiladas, carne rojo, and a selection of sides. A rich, meaty stew, pozole, is served Thursday. And while Friday doesn't have a specific food served especially that day, customers can take advantage of the restaurant's happy-hour specials to celebrate the end of the week and another consecutive day without a Godzilla attack. Adults can sip Mexican beers and margaritas, while options for nondrinkers include Jarritos (a fruity Mexican soda), nonalcoholic smoothies, and horchata (a sweet, cold beverage made with ground rice, water, and cinnamon). On top of everything else, the restaurant caps off meals with desserts such as churros served in a bowl of ice cream.
Everyone loved visiting the Macias household. Antonio and Sara?s hospitality was matched only by their elaborate Mexican dinners. After years of wildly successful dinners and parties, the duo decided to spread the good word and start their own restaurant. In 1974, they opened the first Mi Ranchito in Ontario, California, packing the tiny space with six tables and stocking the kitchen with fresh produce, meat, and seafood.
Decades later, and Antonio and Sara?s small eatery has replicated itself into three locations across California. Their children and grandchildren join them in the kitchens, where they fold fresh ingredients and handcrafted sauces into traditional enchiladas, chili rellenos, and carnitas. Meanwhile, bartenders blend top tequilas into a variety of innovative margaritas and specialty drinks. In the dining rooms, hand-painted murals of tropical birds, colorful Mexican artwork, and the party-hat wearing condors who serve the food create a festive atmosphere. The restaurant's uncompromisingly fresh and delicious cooking, innovative drinks, and welcoming environment have been lauded by a slew of press publications and won the restaurant the award for Best Mexican Food from Inland Empire Magazine.
Owner Ernesto Madrigal founded his restaurant in downtown La Verne because, as he told the University of La Verne's Campus Times in 2010, "I just thought this was a nice little quiet place to start.” However, the vivid hues in the dining room create an atmosphere that's more festive than quiet, with bright orange walls accompanying the cacophonic sputtering of chicken and steak fajitas or diners doing Don Knotts impressions. The menu overflows with familiar Mexican staples from just south of the International Date Line, including carnitas burritos, chipotle-spiced empanadas, and chorizo with scrambled eggs.
Judy and Jim Moore, owners of Cafe Cabo Mexican Restaurant, refer to their customers as "mijo" and "mija"—meaning son and daughter in Spanish. “Once you walk in, you are part of our family. We want you to feel at home,” Judy told Tennille Lindsey-Wright of La Verne Magazine. This family sentiment really shouldn't come as a surprise, considering Judy's main inspiration, and not to mention all of her recipes, come from years of watching her mother prepare decadent Mexican cuisine.
“Of my mother’s five kids, I was the one to maximize her recipes. My family would always call me, asking how to make certain dishes," Judy explained to Tennile. "With four children of my own, I found myself cooking a lot of [her] recipes." By opening Cafe Cabo in 2010, Judy’s dream of sharing her mother’s cuisine became a reality, as she, her husband, and her son today serve a menu of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas, all made to-order to accommodate meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Whether it's golden-fried fish tacos wrapped in a corn tortilla or chicken fajitas that sizzle all the way to the table, every feast at the cafe is enjoyed amid scenic coastal-view paintings and warm, rustic décor modeled after the Moore’s favorite vacation spot, Cabo.
Though it sounds like a mixed drink, the campechana cocktail is actually a meal. Diners spear shrimp, octopus, and chunks of white abalone as they swim in cocktail sauce flavored with avocado and cilantro. The seafood stew is just one of Cabrera?s house specialties, which populate nearly half of the Mexican eatery?s menu. Other specialty dishes include steak ranchero, marinated sirloin served alongside grilled cactus and jalape?os, and salmon con salsa de arandano, a fresh, pan-roasted fish steeped in cranberry chipotle sauce. Traditionalists can take comfort in the eateries? abidance to serving food on plates rather than mini hovercrafts, and south-of-the-border staples such as mole-drenched chicken and burritos blanketed with melted cheese.
Festooned in red and green and warmed by heat lamps, The Great Onion cultivates a festive atmosphere on its covered patio that is only elevated by the sizzling dishes served to smiling patrons anxious to dive into the fresh food. To customize their dining experience, patrons can build their own combo, which may include enchiladas, hard or soft tacos, or taquitos and is always served with rice, beans, and guacamole. The chefs specialize in seafood dishes and also whip up specialties such as steak fajitas or chicken molcajete and the aptly named Great Onion Delight burrito, stuffed with steak picado and chile rellenos and served wet with red or green salsa. And to keep the festive atmosphere going, The Great Onion offers a happy hour everyday and a lunch buffet that entices large groups to come in for a meal and stay for a group hug.