Diane Powers, Casa de Bandini
For 50 years, Diane Powers has been synonymous with the fun, fiesta spirit of shopping and dining throughout San Diego County – and its Mexican restaurant Casa de Bandini at the Forum in Carlsbad is one of its crown jewels!
The famed restaurant wows guests with its fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine, original jumbo margaritas and full-service canteen, live entertainment, and colorful decor. It all adds up to the fun..FUN..FUN!
Created and opened by Diane in 1980 in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, Casa de Bandini was inspired by Juan Bandini.
As one of California’s first Dons, Bandini was known for his elegant and welcoming parties, with his home becoming the social center of Mexican colonial society in the region.
Drawing on her knowledge of Juan Bandini and her extensive travels to Mexico and Latin America, Diane has created the same welcoming and festive atmosphere, filling it with authentic and beautiful folk art and antiques.
Outside, many longtime diners may also recognize the Mexican stone Cantera fountain centered in the tiled Talavera pool as the same from the Old Town location, which it moved with the entire restaurant to the south. location of Carlsbad after losing the lease on the Old Town Building in 2005.
Diane credits much of the restaurant’s success to longtime general manager and Carlsbad native Gilbert Gastelum, as well as chef Ignacio Garcia.
“We are all very proud of this restaurant and of the excellent work carried out by Gilbert, Ignacio and the entire Bandini team. We all share the passion for what we have created, and the culture of service and festive meals that we continue to build every day,” she said.
His creative and artistic approach is apparent in all aspects of Casa de Bandini and his other customer-focused businesses.
An accomplished entrepreneur and design professional, Diane created and still operates the Bazaar del Mundo in the Old Town.
This “market place of the world” opened its doors in 1971. Now celebrating half a century of activity, the bazaar attracts thousands of visitors with its collections of women’s fashion, accessories and jewelry, as well as wonderful treasures for the home, including kitchen and tableware, Mata Ortiz pottery, beautiful handwoven fabrics – which are custom made exclusively for the bazaar, as well as folk art collectibles and other finds from Mexico, Latin America and beyond. All capture the spirit and adventure of the world traveler that she is.
She discovered her passion for color and cultures during her many travels. Says Diane, “During my first days of travel after college, I traveled all over Mexico, Central America, India, Morocco, China and most of Europe. The more I traveled, the more I was discovering and discovering different cultures, architectures and cuisines and this had an incredible influence on my style.
She also created and continues to operate two other award-winning Mexican restaurants in San Diego County: Casa Guadalajara is next to Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town; Casa de Pico, his first restaurant – also opened in 1971 in Old Town – now located in La Mesa at the Grossmont Center.
In order to maintain the authentic festive atmosphere and the high quality of each restaurant, Diane devotes herself to weekly menu tastings and management meetings. Her meticulous attention to detail is evident in everything she does, from selecting decor that evokes her trademark style, to understanding her guests – taking the time to read every Casa de Bandini guest comment card.
Her exceptional passion for quality and customer service has propelled her to the esteemed position as one of the largest 100% women-owned businesses in San Diego and one of the top 500 women-owned businesses. from the country.
Read more profiles: Faces of North County 2022.