Manage family restaurants
“We few, we are happy few, we band of brothers.”
So said the King of England in William Shakespeare’s historic play ‘Henry V’, written in 1599. In this statement, King Henry encouraged his troops to keep their spirits up through camaraderie as they were fighting the French army.
There is another group of brothers in Sonoma County today who are taking on the challenge of owning and operating a restaurant. Who couldn’t benefit from reliable business support, especially after the last few years of pandemic upheaval?
Several restaurateurs take the idea at face value, teaming up with their blood brothers to run restaurants. This includes the Mexican restaurant in Cancún, Tacos al Carbón, Tacos El Paisa and Tacos Tijuana, all in Santa Rosa; Taqueria El Paisa in Rohnert Park; and Mi Tejas Tacos in Cotati.
We now welcome another Mexican restaurant to the group – Pezcow in Windsor, owned by siblings Damián and Luis Zúñiga. It debuted last September and has been built on another level of brotherhood: Damián has previously worked with entrepreneurial brothers Octavio and Pedro Diaz at several of their restaurants across the Bay Area.
The Diaz collection includes Agave Restaurant and Tequila Bar, El Farolito and Casa del Mole, all in Healdsburg; and El Gallo Negro in Windsor, as well as restaurants in the East Bay, a bottled sauce company called Mole Diaz Bros. and interests in the Mitote Food Park being developed in Roseland. (The Zúñigas, by the way, also own the Lucha Sabina food truck, parked Thursday through Monday in Mitote).
For most sibling duos, working together didn’t require a second thought. Miguel Canseco, 43, and Sergio Canseco, 47, own Tacos El Paisa, Taqueria El Paisa and Mi Tejas Tacos, as well as Toluco Mexican Kitchen in Palo Alto.
“Making tacos is a family tradition for the Canseco brothers,” said Miguel. “Our father had the only taco stand in our hometown, Tejas de Morelos in Oaxaca. Jorge Canseco, better known as Don Jorge, is a very famous taco chef there, and Sergio, I’ve worked with him since we were little.
After immigrating to the United States as teenagers, the brothers started a catering business, preparing tacos for weddings and quinceañeras. Today, they employ more than 50 workers and have expanded into popular regional specialties like quesabirria (beef and birria cheese folded into a fried tortilla with soup for dipping) and tlayudas (an Oaxacan specialty with a large, thin, crispy tortilla topped with refried beans, asiento pork lard, lettuce, avocado, meat, Oaxaca queso and salsa). Clients include Latinos but also people from all cultures.
“I feel like California gringos have the Mexican food code in their system,” Miguel teased. “Really, though, everyone really enjoys our mole and is impressed with how labor-intensive this dish is.”
Edwin Hernandez Garcia, 24, and Alfredo Hernandez Garcia, 27, opened their Tacos Tijuana with a few other partners in Santa Rosa last summer. The manager and cook, respectively, came to Sonoma County in 2012 hoping to save enough money to build “a big white house” for their mother.
“We didn’t buy the house, but we saved enough for the paint,” Edwin joked.
Edwin had worked for nearly a decade making tacos for numerous restaurants and food trucks in Santa Rosa, and when the opportunity arose to be part of something that was his own, he asked his “best friend” to help him – his brother.
“It was hard to convince him to quit his steady job and join me, but I know all his secrets,” Edwin said. “I made him sing, ha! Honestly, though, it’s nice to work with my brother because we both have the same dream and save money for the same goal.
The reception has been very good for their authentic dishes, like their best-selling CompaJack burrito stuffed with cabeza meat made from a whole cow’s head and slowly roasted until it’s so tender it falls off. of the skull. Then the juicy meat is braised, steamed and shredded.
“Sometimes (new diners) blink when they learn what lengua (roasted tongue) or tripa (boiled and grilled intestines) are, but they almost always tell us it was delicious,” Edwin said, adding that the cuisine also excels. in vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Things can get frictional from time to time, as he and Alfredo are also roommates. But over time, they found a stopgap to potential feuds that were rising too high.
“When we disagree on something, we just flip a coin,” Edwin said.
Partners and brothers Moises Ramirez, 38, and Jorge Rodriguez, 33, are keeping things quiet but splitting the chores between their two restaurants in Santa Rosa. Ramirez is in charge of Tacos al Carbón and Jorge is in charge of Cancun.