El Mar Mexican Restaurant
107A 3rd St. SE, Long Beach
LONG BEACH — On a warm July afternoon, people wandering through downtown Long Beach continuously found their way to the new colorful Mexican restaurant on the corner of South 3rd street.
“It surprised me all the people who have came,” said El Mar Mexican Restaurant manager Tiburcio Bautista-Paz who held a grand opening for restaurant on July 4. ‘El Mar’ is Spanish for ‘The Sea.’
Baustista-Paz was worries people wouldn’t come in at first amid the covid-19 fears. Those worries were washed away after the July 4th weekend, when the restaurant served more than 100 customers over the lunchtime rush.
“We were very busy, it was a whole bunch of people coming in at the same time,” he said. Most got their orders to go and found space under the umbrellas in the outside patio.
Mexican restaurant meets local demand
Bautista-Paz handles the orders while friends and fellow chefs Salazar Laurentino and Eduardo Osorio do the cooking.
“We all worked in restaurants,” Bautista-Paz said, adding that they worked at a Mexican restaurant in Seaside before the deciding to open their own spot in Long Beach. The opportunity to offer authentic Mexican cuisine in Long Beach was simply too great to resist, he said. He first noticed the space was available in May following the closure of the previous occupant, Taqueria El Jalapeno. The building was updated with new flooring and fresh paint by the owner before the business opened.
The restaurant has traditional Mexican fare, including tacos, burritos, flautas, enchiladas, tamales, chimichangas and quesadillas. There are also specialties such as gordornis, a charbroiled marinated game hen ($20) and chuletas de puerco, pork chops smothered with onions, mushrooms and tomatoes ($20). The carne asada plate ($16) has been among the most popular orders so far, Bautista-Paz said. Beer and unique cocktails will be added after the approval of their liquor license.
“Everything is very good,” Bautista-Paz said.