Cesar’s Restaurant Springs Back to Life
When the grandfather of Julián and Javier Plasencia started working as a bar man at Cesar’s restaurant, he could never have imagined his grandsons would be in charge of the restaurant that put Tijuana on the international map.
Now it is them, restaurateurs and businessmen who have taken it upon themselves to re-open the legendary restaurant after it went bankrupt late last year.
“This is like a dream come true for me” Julian explained, “I’ll be in charge of keeping both my families and the tradition of the city alive…we are already working with the city historian and the archive to prepare an accurate history of this place that we want to rediscover along with our customers.”
The re-opening will be held Saturday July 24th at 7 pm at the restaurant’s legendary location (Revolution street between 4th and 5th street), along with live music with Big Band Jazz and a classic car show around Revolution street.
The new owners promise to recreate the old Tijuana ambience and cuisine, including a faithful respect for the original Cesar salad recipe; garlic, extra virgin olive oil, anchovies, egg, parmesan and pepper, along with other recipes created with French and Italian influences of those immigrants that arrived at this border city early in the 20th century.
“The idea is to remember the good old times with a modern touch; we will have live jazz bands and a trio playing some nights…” Plasencia explains.
Cesar’s was opened by Cesar Cardini, an important restaurant owner of Italian origin, who had a few restaurants in Sacramento and San Diego before seizing the opportunity to open a place in Tijuana during the prohibition.
The original bar and restaurant was first opened in an alley in 1923 and from the start there was talk about this great salad recipe with romaine lettuce, anchovies, eggs and parmesan, that is now a signature dish in many restaurants around the world and the dressing alone can be found in virtually every menu.
It was in 1926 that Cesar’s moved to Second street, where it remained until a year after, when it moved a final time to its current location; Cesar’s Hotel in Revolution Street between 4th and 5th street, where it remained until late 2009, when it was closed due to debt.
But the Plasencia family, -long time restaurant owners across the city- decided to buy the place and restore it to its old splendor, at a time when Revolution street is sizzling with activity and revitalization.
José Avelar Ruiz, Tourism and Convention Board President (COTUCO) considers this a great addition to an effort to help the city recover from the economic crisis, through an initiative called , seeking to promote the area as a destination for local and international tourism.
Cotuco has begun a campaign to promote Tijuana as a strong convention destination and has even promoted artists to paint 25 buildings in downtown as a part of the annual Art Festival in October.
“It is key to ride the wave of recovery that we are seeing, thanks to Young entrepreneurs such as Mezcalera owners and all of the kids from 6th street bar scene, the artists that have taken over the Rodriguez Passageway…”
As Avelar sees it, “reinventing the city is our only option”.