Cafe Zócalo
Cafe Zócalo

The Café Zocalo team, including (from left), Maria, Adan, Humberto, Mike, Diana Madrigal, Mariána and Juan Carlos Vazquez, Brenda Ramirez, Jorge and Leticia, pose with several menu offerings in front of the newly rebranded restaurant.  Mariána and Juan Carlos, who purchased the eatery, hope to establish the business as a go-to spot filled with Mexican cuisine and heritage.

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Café Zocalo

For 20 years, Café Zocalo has been known by various names as a popular Old Towne breakfast spot.  This month, it turned a fresh page as new owners updated and infused the establishment with the vibrant essence of their Mexican heritage.

“We’re keeping the menu as it is, but enhancing it with Latino fusion,” says Juan Carlos Vazquez, who purchased Café Zocalo with his wife, Mariána.  “My Latino culture and background are very important to me, so building that into this café is a great opportunity.”

The updated menu builds off the existing breakfast-focused menu, but now includes both breakfast and lunch options with Mexican-inspired dishes like chilaquiles and a Mayan hot chocolate.  Juan and his family also wanted to make sure parts of their culture were present in more than just the food, so the interior now features traditional Mexican art and boasts an updated logo with new colors.

After taking over the café with his wife, Juan Carlos wanted to expand his team to become a family endeavor, so he teamed up with Mariána’s sister, Brenda Ramirez, and cousin, Diana Madrigal.

“They became part of our ownership team with their roles and work ethic, and it has been empowering,” he says.  “Having the opportunity to build a business together as a family has been my biggest joy with this café.”

As the crew settles into their Old Towne location, they look forward to integrating with the community.

“I love how customers come in and tell us about the history of Old Towne,” says Mariána.  “We have nothing but gratitude and excitement to keep serving people in Orange.”

Already, they have found customers to be welcoming and thoughtful, and excited about the new changes.

“It’s so rewarding to have customers come up to me and share their stories and how their experience is going,” says Madrigal, the restaurant’s Administrative Coordinator.  “That’s the kind of satisfaction you can’t find working in an office.”

Café Zocalo’s owners are also looking forward to becoming a staple in the Orange restaurant scene, and their passion is matched by their determination to create a well-rounded dining experience.

Becoming well-known in the area is a top priority for Juan Carlos and the team, who are committed to carving out a distinct identity that sets them apart.

“When people think about the Plaza, certain restaurants and businesses come to mind,” he says.  “We want to change that up so when people think about the Plaza, they now think of us.  We want to be top of mind as a destination to eat and drink.”

Café Zocalo
136 South Glassell St., Old Towne Orange, CA 92866  /  714-538-3764

Article Published in the
Nov / Dec 23 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review
Written by Yuki Klotz-Burwell Photo by Kristin Smetona
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