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After an eight-year hiatus, Gabriel and Maria Anaya, the former owners of Mexican restaurant Toreros, have returned to Harbor with the second branch of their Crescent City eatery, Cazadores.
The restaurant opened July 1 at 16218 Lower Harbor Road, and specializes in traditional Mexican fare such as shrimp plates, fajita meals, arroz con pollo and chili Colorado.
Gabriel Anaya noted that their carne asada dishes tend to be among the most popular. Everything is made from scratch.
“We make all the salsas, burrito salsa, enchilada sauce, the sauce for the chips; besides the tortillas, we prepare everything here,” he said. “We don’t buy anything pre made, everything, most of the stuff is pretty fresh. We don’t cook a big portion of stuff to get by a month or something you know?
He added, “Everybody has a different recipe and a different way to cook their things, but I’m pretty sure when (they) come here people will be satisfied and they won’t be disappointed.”
Anaya is no stranger to their new location, as it is the same building that his former restaurant, Toreros, was for nine years. Anaya said it only took two months to set themselves up in the building again after the former tenant, the owners of Blue Water Cafe and Lounge, moved out.
“The only thing we did was bring in new equipment, do some clean up work, and then, obviously, apply for your license and all that paperwork you need to do,” Anaya said.
He first got his start in the restaurant business in 1988, when he worked at a Seattle-based eatery in Washington.
“(I) liked it,” Anaya said. “I like to work with the public.”
During his time there, Anaya was approached by one of his friends, who lived in Grants Pass, with the idea of opening a restaurant together in Brookings.
The two opened up Toreros next to the Republican headquarters in Brookings in 1993.
“It’s a big difference, especially coming from a big city, where everything closes at midnight, then (coming) to Brookings where everything closes at eight and nine o’clock; seven o’clock you hardly see any traffic out here,” Anaya said. “I kind of like it, we got used to it, and now we don’t want to wait for anything.”
After a year, Anaya’s partner moved on while he stayed with the restaurant. In 1998, Anaya moved Toreros to its current location at the port, and in 2003 expanded his business by opening the first branch of Cazadores in Crescent City in 2007,
Anaya once again relocated Toreros, this time to downtown Brookings. Unfortunately, this move coincided with the economic recession of 2007, and Anaya was forced to close after two-and-half years.
Subsequently, the Anayas moved to Medford and tried opening several restaurants there but, after none took off, decided to make their return back to Brookings in 2011.
Anaya describes the food the restaurant serves as casual, with a price point that sits between low- and high-end dining.
“The way I see it, you (buy) a $10 meal, I want you to see a $10 meal on your plate when you get it,” Anaya said. “First thing you see a plate, they say, this is worth it. And I kind of tell a story about, at my place in Crescent City, there was this guy, he came from Eureka, and he order carne asada and he told my wife when I saw the price (that it was pricey), but when he (saw) the plates (he) said ‘Wow! I’m getting my money’s worth!’”
The restaurant is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sundays. The phone number is 541-813-2632.