The new owners of the site that formerly housed Viva Rancho Cantina plan to set up a welcoming restaurant in the city with authentic Mexican cuisine.
Alonso Arellano and his wife, Elsa Arellano, have worked in the food and beverage industry for 20 years and recently purchased the building located at 900 W Riverside Dr. The site is currently undergoing renovations, although the structure general building remains the same.
The Arellano family currently owns two other restaurants in Los Angeles called Chiguacle Sabor Ancestral de Mexico. This new Burbank dining experience will have a different name which will be revealed at a later date.
Alonso and Elsa are both immigrants, as Alonso is from Mexico and Elsa is from El Salvador. During their early years in the United States, the Arellanos gradually distanced themselves from their heritage, which inspired them to create a company that paid homage to their roots. Since Alonso’s extended family are experienced in business, he decided that a restaurant project would be the best fit for their business.
“We felt this urge, this need to come back into our culture,” said Alonso. “So we decided the best way to do it was to open a Mexican restaurant.”
A graduate of UCLA’s Biomedical Physics program, Alonso works with Kaiser Permanente four days a week while running the family’s restaurants, a bakery, and a tortilla factory. His passion for health has gone hand in hand with his love of serving fresh meals to customers, which he hopes to continue to do in Burbank.
“I realized that in reality I was not living a parallel life with my healthcare profession and my restaurant business,” Alonso said. “I realized that I could help more people maintain the good health they currently have with the food we provide in our restaurant than the number of people I help individually in the hospital.”
The restaurants of Chiguacle Sabor Ancestral de Mexico de Arellano follow both traditional recipes and use only meat, produce and other fresh ingredients. One of these places serves southern Mexican cuisine, while another focuses its menu on coastal Mexican seafood dishes. The new Burbank restaurant will feature a mix of Southern and Coast Mexican cuisine, and will further expand to prepare dishes inspired by other parts of Mexico.
“We’re always going to take the same perspective as we look at ancestor recipes and try to prepare them in a better way so that we can keep them as healthy as possible,” Arellano said of Burbank restaurant’s new menu. “We’re not going to use cans or jars as the source of ingredients. We stock up on real produce and fresh meat, and we don’t prepare things in advance.
The Arellano will open the Burbank site in two launch phases. Over the next 30 days, the front patio and first dining room will open, followed by a second phase of a larger dining room and rear patio that will open in early 2022.
Live music concerts have been a strong attraction for visitors to Viva Rancho Cantina over the years of its existence. Alonso is a music fan who keeps his heritage alive by listening to Spanish music, and says this restaurant will include some degree of live or pre-recorded music to contribute to a fun, family atmosphere.
“I love music,” Alonso said. “For us, music is more of a mood maker that allows people to come together, enjoy dinner and have a conversation at their table. I believe that eating food and sharing food with friends and family is probably the only way to get people to put their cellphones down and pay attention to each other. And for this reason, we will have music, and we could also have live music. “
For the Arellano, sharing their cultural roots by creating traditional and delicious meals for customers is a labor of love. As they prepare to open this new shopping site, Alonso says they will prioritize making visitors feel at home while enjoying their meals. This will include setting up a large community table inside the restaurant where various restaurant goers can mingle with each other. In addition, before the official opening, Alonso will organize a small community meeting to get to know the people of Burbank better.
“Mexican food is so vast. Mexico and different regions [take] different perspectives on how to cook and create food. But they all say one thing in common: they do it with a lot of passion and love because they know they will feed their families, ”said Alonso. “We carry the same passion and the same love… with our creation because we know it nourishes our family and all the guests in our restaurant. It is as if they were coming to us. So we want to treat [visitors] to the best we have.