Mexican food in Santa Barbara and our sister cafe, the Daily Grind. Here is a great article from the Newspress in April about our local owned family businesses.

BEHIND THE SCENES: Community Crossroads – A family’s commitment to setting up shop — and staying put — in Santa Barbara

April 27, 2012 12:23 PM

What: A full-service cafe and a Mexican restaurant owned by the same family
Where: The corner of Mission and De la Vina streets, Santa Barbara
The Daily Grind: 2001 De la Vina St.,
5 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, 687-4966
Los Gallos: 2009 De la Vina St., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sun., 563-4883,
Louis Cubilla and Yolanda Gonzalez were born in Argentina to Paraguayan parents, but the brother and sister had moved to California by the time they were five and three years old. Their father, Justo Cubilla, found work as a tailor at Universal Studios and made a living in Los Angeles for many years before following up on an advertisement for a tailoring job in Santa Barbara.
“He came up for the weekend and absolutely fell in love with Santa Barbara,” says Yolanda. “He worked here and in Los Angeles at the same time for a while before deciding to open his own business in Santa Barbara and move the family to this beautiful city.”
Justo and Hilda Cubilla opened up Justo the Tailor at the corner of Mission and De la Vina sometime around 1980 and it didn’t take long for their children to get involved in the family business.
“We all came to work for my dad from the time we were eight years old all the way up through our teenage years,” says Yolanda. “I can’t even articulate all the things we learned from our parents while growing up in the family business. I certainly don’t think we’d be able to run a business today if they didn’t teach us everything they taught us.”
Yolanda went on to major in business administration with a minor in finance from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Upon graduating in 1993, Yolanda married Jesus Gonzalez and has been with the Santa Barbara local ever since.
Louis opened up The Daily Grind on Dec. 4, 1995, right across the street from where he and his sister grew up working with their father. Yolanda was still helping out Justo with the tailoring business until 1999 when she partnered up with Louis and began working at The Daily Grind full time.
“The Daily Grind was really successful from day one. The locals really supported the business, as they still do today,” says Yolanda. “I just want to make sure that our customers really know how appreciative we are. I’m a big believer in supporting local businesses and we do that ourselves, so when we have the local community in here on a daily basis, it just makes us feel like all the hard work and dedication we put in to these places is worth it. Our customers make us who we are.”
If ever there were such a thing as a family intersection, Mission and De la Vina would be that magic corner for the Cubilla family. Louis and Yolanda opened up Los Gallos Mexican Restaurant in 2004 after realizing that there wasn’t much Mexican cuisine available in the neighborhood at the time. Just around the corner from The Daily Grind, Los Gallos is yet another classic restaurant in
the making.
“We always have people come in to the coffee shop and say, ‘We’ve heard about you guys.’ Now, we’re starting to have people tell us that at Los Gallos, so it’s pretty awesome to be getting that response,” says Yolanda. “We love this corner; we wouldn’t change it for the world. We’ve been offered various places throughout Santa Barbara — and I’m not saying we would never open anywhere else — but this works out really well for us right now to have both locations next door to each other.”
Even though Los Gallos is right around the corner from The Daily Grind, people have a much harder time discovering the Mexican restaurant.
“A lot of people don’t realize that we’re back here; it’s just not as noticeable,” says Yolanda. “Once they find out that we are here, though, we usually end up with a customer for life.”
Quality ingredients and customer service have always been fundamental characteristics of both family restaurants. It doesn’t hurt that the majority of the two restaurants’ employees have been loyal employees for 13 years or more.
“They’re all like family by now. After that long working together, they really become a part of your life,” says Yolanda. “We also try to keep our relatives involved with the business as long as they want to be part of it. A lot of nieces and nephews will come work for us as they’re going through college.”
The corner of Mission and De la Vina has gone through many phases over the years, but one family has gone above and beyond in leaving an indelible — and edible — mark on Santa Barbara culture forever.


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