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Meet Antonio R Coronado of Tacos Neza in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Antonio R Coronado.

Antonio, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Our idea of a restaurant started for my family since we were in Mexico. We are from a small state in the center of the country, my family has always been in the food industry and considering how the economy and social conditions in Mexico have changed over the years, the idea of moving to a place with more opportunities seemed a good choice. We came to Los Angeles in December of 2018. At first, we came with the idea of making some research on whether this could be or not a good choice but the place grew rapidly on us and we decided we needed to find a way to start something here. Our journey really started in farmer’s markets selling ‘tacos de guisado’ in the West Covina Farmers Market and later on Westwood Village Farmers Market, we also were a little bit on La Puente Live. The first comments and reactions of people on those markets about our food gave us the confidence to find a way to get something more significant for us, luckily we were able to get some funds trough loans and savings and decided to open up a place, our first plan was to get a food truck but a really special place on Sunset Blvd popped up on our radar and we didn’t think twice about getting it, and that is how we ended up on where we are now.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Well, these last months have been quite a rollercoaster for us. To start, moving from Mexico to LA was a family decision based on part on chasing opportunity and also on part due to the insecurity we faced in Mexico. Having to adapt to a new life while finding a way to make a living rapidly was not easy. Understanding law, regulations and permits to start an enterprise here as a foreign citizen and finding a place to start selling food was also hard on its way, but things started to work out at some point. The West Covina Farmers Market is a really small local market and but the only one that accepted us, we applied to all the markets in the city and we had the amazing luck to be accepted at one in the most beautiful areas of LA, the Westwood Village Farmers Market. We were there for some three months maybe and since the beginning we always felt very welcomed and a real appreciation of our work. Later we were able to get funds to start something bigger.

Still, the budget was also tight, when we had the opportunity to get an actual place to open a restaurant we knew that the work was going to be insane, we were not going to be able to hire much staff and the expenses were going to be huge. Still, we were very motivated and had much faith in the opportunity that had presented to us. At the end, not everyday you get the chance to get your place on the very Sunset Blvd. To this time is sometimes hard to believe we have it, and we are still very grateful for it.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
When we were at the farmers market, we sold the traditional Mexican guisados. A guisado is a traditional Mexican dish made with a sauce and some meat, but there are also veggie options. Part of what sets Mexico apart in food is the fact that every family has very talented and experience cooks, and recipes are a treasure that are passed by generations, so a guisado is not only a dish but an interpretation of a classic that every Mexican ate all their lives. But when we had the chance to open up a place we wanted to complement some of these guisados with some tacos that are selled in real traditional taquerias in the center of Mexico, particularly we wanted to sell the real taco al pastor. What we think sets us apart from other Mexican taquerias is we follow every step of the preparation of the recipes, we have the utmost respect for food and we think that regarding the preparation of any recipe there are no shortcuts that are worth the sacrifice of taste.

We cook using only natural and fresh ingredients. We don’t use artificial flavors or ingredients from cans. We know there is more work, but we are confident that people can spot the difference in quality. Also, we think that most of the Mexican food in Los Angeles is not entirely traditionally Mexican but more of an adaptation of the LA lifestyle, but what we offer is real Mexican flavors, things that in a way can only be found if you go there, like our tortillas for example are handmade from real corn and made to order or our pastor which is cooked in real trompo.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Well, we are still a very new business; our only focus is making this a sustainable enterprise. We are confident that we are on the right path, but we know it’s going to take time to get a solid client base that allows us to be profitable. If we manage to turn this into a successful restaurant, we would have some renovations made to the place so we can sell beer and expand our service hours.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Isadora Sartor

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