The Baja Sonora History
by Mike Mendelsohn
Since it first opened in March of 1998, Baja Sonora has been serving authentic Mexican lunch and dinner to crowds of happy customers in a friendly, casual atmosphere. Mary Sophiea and her partner, Mike Mendelsohn, began with a little, cozy restaurant that seated only 40 patrons.
The original Baja Sonora at the corner of Clark Avenue and Spring Street in Long Beach, California, soon became known for good food, large portions and fair prices. Friday nights found Baja Sonora customers lined up to get their crunchy tacos, giant wet burritos, juicy carnitas tostadas and a lot more.
A series of very favorable newspaper reviews (including a mention in the March, 2000 Sunset Magazine “Best of the West” article which mentioned Baja Sonora as one of the 30 favorite taco restaurants of their readers all across the western United States) brought even larger crowds to the little eatery. It became clear that more space was needed and, as luck would have it, the space next door became available. The expanded dining room was opened on Cinco de Mayo of 2001 and quickly filled with happy customers!
One day in 2004, Mike was driving down Atlantic Avenue in the Bixby Knolls section of Long Beach and spotted a “For Lease” sign in front of the little old Winchell’s Donut Shop building that had been there since 1976. In Mike’s mind this was the perfect spot for the next Baja Sonora restaurant. And so Mike and Mary Lynn set to work transforming an old donut shop into Baja Sonora #2. With a beautiful large patio and lots of parking for customers the new Baja Sonora opened its doors in June of 2005, and presents the same great faire in the same fast casual style as the original location.
The years and the happy customers seemed to go by like cheese being wiped from the face of a hungry five year old. In July of 2007, a local newspaper columnist, Tim Grobaty, asked his readers to tell him where their favorite tacos come from. Baja Sonora came in first place and the business boomed yet again.
This next Cinco de Mayo, we will celebrate 20 years of fantastic experiences and warm relationships with so many of our customers who have let their friends and relatives know about the great food and good times at Baja Sonora. And our original location on Clark Avenue will be housed in a beautiful remodeled shopping center by then.
So whether you find yourself hungry for great Mexican food and you’re in the Los Altos area of Long Beach or over on the other side of town in Bixby Knolls….. our tacos are crunchy and mouth-watering, the tortilla chips are crispy and all four different salsas are waiting for you to have a taste of real Mexico right here in Long Beach and Los Alamitos, California. Your Quesadilla dreams and Fajita fantasies have come true! Welcome to Baja Sonora and Bueno Apetito, amigos!!
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