Next Level Mex
Nestled amidst a residential neighborhood in Watsonville, Real Colima 2 looks like a restaurant that used to be a house because that’s exactly what it is. Opened in 1992, Alfonso Moran, Jr. started managing the place in 1999 while still in high school. His mom and dad started a small catering truck in the 1970s, and the food’s excellence propelled them to two brick-and-mortar locations. Moran Jr. defines the cuisine as all-encompassing traditional and classic Mexican, drawing influences from Mexico’s many states. Popular appetizers include the flautas and the nachos, the Super Burrito with, well, basically everything, wrapped up in a scratch-made flour tortilla. They make their own corn tortillas in house too, an authentic and differentiating feat. Other specialties include the Camarones al Charco and the Chili Verde with chunks of tender pork shoulder in a tomatillo sauce. A classic, housemade flan is the dessert offering. Hours are 9am-9pm (open 8am Sat/Sun).
What was it like managing as a high school student?
ALFONSO MORAN JR.: My mom needed help running both locations, so I started on weekends and after school until it just became a permanent job. My parents came up doing this same work and I followed in their footsteps. At such a young age, I had to make tough decisions that made me mature quickly. It made me who I am today, and I realized so many values like work ethic, generosity and responsibility.
Tell me about your tortillas.
We make our own corn and flour tortillas totally from scratch in house. Tortillas in Mexican cuisine are partnered with many dishes, so we are constantly making a lot of them. We can make them different sizes for different dishes, and we can make them crispy or fluffy. Guests really notice when something is made from scratch, and they can taste the difference in our tortillas.
1101 East Lake Avenue, Watsonville, 831-728-2971; realcolimatwo.com