Son starts Mexican restaurant, following in his father’s footsteps
by Jessica Hill
Eduardo Castro always knew he wanted to start a business. With his family’s history of owning restaurants and his growing up in a Mexican restaurant, the decision to start his own restaurant was an obvious one.
The Mexico City Mexican Restaurant, located at 778 North Main St. in North Hill officially opened its doors June 1 and offers a mix of traditional Mexican food and Tex Mex. Previously The Office, a bar and bistro, the Mexican restaurant’s building stands across from Arsenic & Old Lace, a clothing store, and down the street from Temple Square Park.
With opening the restaurant, 23-year-old Eduardo has fallen into his father’s footsteps.
In 1984, Eduardo’s father, Miguel Castro, moved from Guanajuato, Mexico to California for work.
“It was like a dream,” Miguel said. “Some of my friends came to the United States and started working on the farms, picking vegetables in the fields in California.”
He and his friends worked temporarily, “from one field to another field.” One month he worked on lettuce fields, then peppers, then strawberries. In 1998, a friend in Akron had started a Mexican restaurant and wanted his help, kick starting the Castro family’s path in the restaurant business. Miguel did not want to stay at his friend’s restaurant for a long time.
“I (had) my own dreams,” he said. “I wanted to open my own place.”
Later, Miguel opened his own restaurant called Azteca Mexican Restaurant on East Market Street. Although he is glad he started the restaurant, which is still running today, he thinks it is too much work and originally discouraged his son from opening his own.
“I think he is crazy,” Miguel lauged. “I told him not to do it. I’ve been here for many years and I love it, but it’s time consuming. But he’s young and has the power to do it.”
Despite his concerns, Miguel has taught Eduardo how to run the business, how to cook, prepare the food and manage the restaurant.
Although Eduardo was born in Hesperia, California, a city of 90,000 people and about 80 miles from Los Angeles, he has found a home in Akron. He went to high school at Green and lived on Piedmont Avenue near Chapel Hill Mall.
“I was born in California, (but) Akron is the closest thing to a home that I know,” Eduardo said. “There’s something that feels meaningful about helping the place that you grew up in.”
Eduardo hopes to help build the Akron community and work with local business owners. He has purchased the uniforms and signs from Akron businesses and also buys the bread for the restaurant from Crust Bakery, down the street from his restaurant.
The father and son duo believe the food sets their restaurant apart from others in Akron. The menu offers a good mix of traditional Mexican food and the classic Tex Mex, which Eduardo said is uncommon in other restaurants. They also serve street tacos with corn tortillas, cilantro, onions, hot sauce and meat.
“I think the big difference between other restaurants and this restaurant is we prepare everything fresh in the morning,” Miguel said. “So we try to keep the freshness of the food because I think there is a big difference between fresh and a can.”
Mexico City Mexican Restaurant is three miles north of Downtown, and has an urban style to it. A large, wooden map of Akron hangs from the back wall of the restaurant. Next to the main dining rooms, a modern bar offers a spot for customers to sit and watch sports games while sipping on margaritas. The restaurant also offers outdoor seating in the patio. Soon, Miguel and Eduardo hope to have online ordering for customers to place orders and pick up their favorite Mexican dishes.
“Everybody loves Mexican food,” Eduardo said. “It’s one of the best parts of the culture.”