Family restaurant based in hispanic roots

by Sydney Faulkner, Senior Staff Writer

Nestled in the culturally rich neighborhood of Logan Heights, a local family works side by side to serve the community with one-of-a-kind, homestyle Mexican food. 

The matriarch of the family, Alicia Lorenzo, took over Azteca Rincon in 2008. However, the family restaurant has gone through a few name changes. Originally the restaurant was named Tacos El Compita, but changed to Mama’s Kitchen in 2010. Then, due to a recurring confusion with a local non-profit, Rincon Azteca became the new name earlier this year. 

Lorenzo originally worked for the owner of Rincon Azteca and was given the opportunity to take over the restaurant. She knew right away she would make the opportunity into a family affair. Lorenzo creates each dish herself, using recipes she has crafted and perfected on her own throughout the years. She contributes much of her inspiration as a chef to her mother and grandmother. 

Bri Alvarez is the daughter of Lorenzo and loves being part of the family business. 

“My grandmother, along with many other members of my family, have the business mindset,” Bri said. “We love to work for ourselves and for each other.”

Ely Alvarez, granddaughter of Lorenzo, is a political science sophomore at San Diego State. She enjoys being part of the family business as well. 

Her parents took their business further and created another leg of Rincon Azteca, a food stand located on the street adjacent called Tamales los Unicos. Although they’re most famous for their delicious tamales, they also serve elote, Mexican street corn. All of the recipes used at the food stand are crafted by her grandmother, as usual. 

Rincon Azteca’s most famous dishes are their huaraches, pambazos, sopes and gorditas. They also serve Mexican Coca Cola in the classic glass bottle. Alvarez confessed that when she visits other restaurants, she will take her grandmother’s salsa. 

“I don’t eat at a lot of other mexican style restaurants because I know I can get the best mexican food right from my grandma,” Alvarez said. 

As if the authentically crafted food was not enough to bring people from all over California, the exterior of Rincon Azteca catches many eyes. In March of this year, Rincon Azteca went under an art renovation. The family chose two local Logan Heights artists to design and paint the outside of the restaurant. The family wanted something bright to grab attention, but to also showcase the rich culture that lived inside the restaurant and in the community. 

The art renovation was completed by El Waster One and Sholove. The two took a few weeks to transform the exterior of Rincon Azteca into a beautiful, complete mural that celebrated their Otomi heritage. 

Inside Rincon Azteca, the walls are painted yellow, red and orange. The Alvarez women said the family strived to make the restaurant feel like home for everyone who visits. In many Mexican kitchens, including their own grandma’s, they said  the walls are brightly colored and very inviting, which brings a sense of nostalgia to all who visit.

 Look no further than Rincon Azteca for homestyle Mexican comfort food to make you feel right at home. 

Rincon Azteca is located at 2172 Ocean View Blvd., San Diego, CA. They are open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday, but hours vary on the weekends. Visit them on Instagram @rincon_aztecasd.

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