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A Family Affair

In 1960, Ophelia & Abel Garcia, our “Nana & Tata,” took a chance & embarked on a journey… a heritage that has survived 4 generations, Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant. Opening our landmark location, or what we like to call “G1,” in the village of Carlsbad, Nana & Tata set in motion our family’s dream of offering an experience very much like those we share at home. Of Spanish ancestry, Nana was born in El Paso, Texas in 1914. While Tata’s family was originally from the small town of Cortez, in Chihuahua, México, he was born in Jerome, Arizona in 1907. After courting for some time, the two were married in National City in 1933 & had 4 children: eldest son Abel Jr., twins Paul & Pauline, & daughter Valentine. A barber by day & a mariachi by night, Tata became known as southern California’s “Singing Barber,” even having the opportunity to play for such stars as Rita Hayworth & Bing Crosby. Settling down in Oceanside, Nana & Tata opened Garcia’s Barber Shop in 1955 on State Street, in Carlsbad Village.

Five years later they opened Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant, right next door. Throughout the years the restaurant has been a home away from home for the family & a place where our family members started out their working lives. In 1963, Belynn R. Gonzales, the eldest of Valentine’s 4 children, joined the family business as a bus girl. She was only 7 years old. Especially close to her grandmother, Belynn & Nana shared a special bond & a true love of hospitality. A graduate of SDSU’s Business School, Belynn carried on the family tradition by taking over the helm of our ship on July 1st,1979. Working together with General Manager José L. Payo, who came aboard in 1984 & is originally from Oaxaca, México, the two have been able to collaborate & grow the restaurant’s reach in several big ways.

Arguably the biggest is Garcia’s Creative Catering, which has 10 delivery vehicles that cater American, Italian, Mexican, & You-Name-It throughout San Diego & Orange Counties daily. While Garcia’s has always offered catering services, it wasn’t until 1994 that the Creative Catering piece developed a steady niche for itself. Today, we’re thankful to provide a variety of services that range from professional & office events, to birthdays, anniversaries, holiday parties & weddings. Emphasizing friendly service, flexibility & consistency, Garcia’s Creative Catering delivers quality & is what gave us the opportunity to grow into the Encinitas community.

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