Old Juan’s Cantina gets creative to keep locals fed during COVID-19 outbreak

by: Amy Blasco

Walkie-Talkies. A pop-up drive-thru. Free burritos.

Like countless restaurants throughout California and beyond, Old Juan’s Cantina has had to rethink the way it does business to comply with the shelter-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic.

The health and safety of the Central Coast community is the restaurant’s first priority, so the OJC family created a drive-thru operation for curbside pickup orders. Once entering the cantina parking lot, drivers are directed to an employee wearing a mask who takes their payment via credit or debit card and uses a Walkie-Talkie to communicate with the restaurant staff, who then walk out the orders. For people who can’t make it to the restaurant or don’t feel comfortable traveling, Old Juan’s offers delivery through FoodJets and Cafe Runner to the local area.

Got a hankering for a margarita? No problem! Recent changes to California’s liquor laws now allow restaurants to sell to-go alcoholic beverages to be mixed at home. Old Juan’s recently posted a video on social media of one of their bartenders demonstrating the best way to assemble margaritas at home (including how to properly salt the rim of your glass!).

In addition to margaritas, the restaurant partnered with its suppliers to provide Brown Paper Bag Essentials kits, which include a roll of toilet paper, a box of sugar, a loaf of Edna’s fresh-baked sliced wheat bread, butter, coffee, milk, pinto beans and rice. Old Juan’s is selling the grocery bags at their cost, which is $20 and customers are limited to one each until supplies last. If the need continues, Old Juan’s will order more supplies to continue to offer this.

Also during this incredibly challenging time, Old Juan’s is joining others to support local nonprofits by donating food or gift cards. To date, the restaurant has supported 5 Cities Homeless Coalition, The Link Family Resources Center, CAPSLO, Meals that Connect, and Jack’s Helping Hand.

“We have never been so proud to support this community,” said Old Juan’s Cantina brother-and-sister co-owners, Adam and Eva Verdin. “Our family has had the restaurant here in Oceano for more than 40 years, and we are all in this together.”

For more information, call (805) 489-5680 or visit www.oldjuanscantina.com.

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