DALY CITY (CBS SF) — It’s the end of an era for one of the Bay Area’s oldest restaurants.
Diners got their last chance Sunday to eat hot tostada salad, mole enchiladas and coconut mango cake at the 102-year-old Estrada’s Restaurant in Daly City.
The restaurant, which offers Mexican and Caribbean cuisine, closed with a big party on Super Bowl on Sunday, and San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa made an appearance.
The owners said they are closing the popular restaurant because they are ready to retire.
“We owned (Estrada’s) for 12 years, working long hours. We gave it our all,” said Bernadette Aggen, who owns the restaurant with her husband Julio Mercedes. “We’re not walking away with any money. We are walking away with memories.”
“I think one of the reasons is the popularity of the flavors that we add to the American Cuisine,” said Mercedes.
“I believe the atmosphere and the food keeps people coming back here,” added Jose Betances of Hercules.
“It’s the community. I work for City Toyota and we’re right around the corner. We have a lot of events here and parties and I’ve had several birthday parties here as well,” said Eleanor Serrato.
Aggen said people have been sharing their stories “of how their grandparents met here, how they had their weddings” at the 102-year-old restaurant ever since the two announced that that Estrada’s was closing.
In 2013, the hit Food Network show “Restaurant Impossible,” a reality show that helps struggling restaurants, featured Estrada’s. The host, Robert Irvine, revamped the menu and redid the décor. Sales went up 30 percent shortly after the show aired, but ultimately, the worn-out owners decided to retire.
Reservations were required for the last day, which was an emotional one for the owners, who have worked hard side by side.
“We always haven’t taken the time to say thank you – what you did last night or what you did with those people – but we’ve loved each other and that’s a huge accomplishment, more so than the restaurant you know?” said Aggen. “And I haven’t said that to anybody else but you.”
Supervisor Canepa, who has celebrated many occasions at the restaurant since he was a child, says the restaurant has succeeded from a business standpoint.
“On average, 60 percent of businesses last five years, so this place, Estrada’s, has far exceeded it, exceeded that number. So today’s a day of celebration,” said Canepa.
The owners sold the restaurant to a friend who will feature Mediterranean cuisine, Aggen said.
“I’m very proud that we were able to keep it going. This is an institution in this town. People come here from all over the Bay Area,” Aggen said.
Over the years, the owners have never written down recipes. They were passed on verbally.
“They have great dishes. I always enjoy the chicken fajitas, the pollo,” said Daly City councilmember Pamela DiGiovanni.
Aggen says Estrada’s will still do some catering and private events through the end of the month.
KPIX 5 reporter Betty Yu contributed to this story.
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