Travel News and Wild Fire Updates Available Here. Note that park closures are in effect 9/12/2021.

PEDRO MENDEZ, COMMUNITY SUPPORTER AND RESTAURATEUR

Owning a restaurant is a tough job. Long hours, ensuring your tables are full, making your guests happy.  So how does this restaurant owner find the time to care for his community during challenging times? We don’t know. (Never sleep?!) But what we do know is that this local restaurateur does all he can to spread his positive outlook and his love for his neighbors in good times and in bad.  From motivational quotes to love advice for his single friends to supporting other local restaurants, this man is part Dear Abby, part gym coach and part Pope Francis. So where does he recommend visitors go when visiting his hometown? We bet he has lots of local recommendations. Read on to find out.


Q:  We don’t think we have ever seen you without a smile on your face. What helps you stay so darn happy?

Lol I consider myself a very lucky guy. God has blessed me with a wonderful family, a great business (he's owner of Chapala Grill) and the best friends. I have a lot to smile about. I believe every day we we get an opportunity to wake up and feel alive is a great reason to be happy.

Q:  Community partnership seems really important to you. How do you wrangle people to help you with your projects?

Our community is the best. Especially during these trying times we have felt the love and support from our community so I like to give back every chance I get. Whether it’s by sponsoring a kid’s baseball team or helping our first responders with supplies, or simply by posting about another business on Social Media. If I can put in a good word to help someone I like to do it. Nobody reaches their goals alone, at one point or another we all need a helping hand. I love to help.



Q:  Food is a great way to bring people together. What are some of the places you like to gather with friends and family?

Absolutely. Food brings people together. I really enjoy seeing groups of friends and families celebrating here at the restaurant. It makes me happy. We like to go out with my family, most of the time we get together at our Parents’ house to barbeque, drink some tequila, but we also love going to support other great local businesses like Fugazzis Bistro, the Vintage Press, Valhalla’s, Pita Kabob or Little Italy Italian Restaurant.

Q:  Assuming you even have a night off, where would you go for a cocktail with your buddies?

For great cocktails we enjoy Fugazzis and The Vintage Press.

Q:  Some of your volunteer work takes you all around the county, like providing meals for farmworkers. Do you have any hidden gems you’d be willing to share? 

We like to go to Three Rivers for a hike, take the kids swimming at Kaweah Lake. We love going camping. There are so many beautiful places in our backyard we should take more time to go out and explore.



Q:  Aside from Chapala Grill of course, who serves the best tacos and why?

Honestly, we love the tacos at Los Arbolitos. We usually go to the Mooney Blvd location but the one in the nearby city of Farmersville is great too. The fresh, handmade corn tortillas and the birria with consomé are the BEST! Great family too. Hard working people.

Q:  When you have family or friends visiting from out of the area, what do you like them to see?

When friends and family come to visit we have to take them to Sequoia National Park! It’s a must. We never get tired of seeing The General Sherman Tree. The great thing about Visalia is we are literally 3 hours or less from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Monterey, Morro Bay. You can drive to and back the same day. Visalia is a wonderful town with good people, great restaurants and many beautiful places to visit around the County.

A little advice from Pedro:
If you want to reach that goal so bad, you will have to make sacrifices. Stay focused. Stay passionate.

Lake Kaweah
Dine in America's Bread Basket
Sequoia National Park


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