Anthony Guajardo learned how to cook from his family. Preparing and eating food together was an inspiration and a multi-generational bonding experience, which is why Guajardo has always felt comfortable working in restaurants. In 2016, he noticed a taqueria for sale in Capitola Village. Guajardo seized the opportunity. He overhauled the menu, transforming the space into Mijo’s, a go-to for coastal California Mexican food.
“We try to under-promise and over-deliver,” Guajardo explains. The bestselling fish tacos boast locally sourced grilled or tempura-fried fish accentuated by pickled radish and lemon herb crema. The popular Mijo’s burrito erupts with spiciness courtesy of housemade grilled serrano and habanero salsa. Another menu favorite is the al pastor with achiote marinade. For vegetarians and vegans, the confit mushrooms are stellar.
The beach is a block away, so take-out is the way to go on nice days, though on-site seating is available. Mijo’s also does catering. Hours are 11am-7pm daily (7:30pm Friday and Saturday). GT asked Guajardo what Mijo’s is all about and how family influenced his food philosophy.
Where was your love for cooking born?
ANTHONY GUAJARDO: My passion for food came from both my grandmothers, one Mexican and one Sicilian. Spending so much time watching them cook was inspiring, and I started helping them. From making tamales for Christmas to arancini for other holidays, I learned to cook from both cultures. I learned that cooking from love and intention makes an impact.
What makes Mijo’s so popular?
We try to balance great customer service with consistent execution and quality. This builds trust with our customers. My staff and I strive to make a personal connection with our guests, learning their names and typical orders. The locals and our community are a high priority.