Kazan Enterprises
By YP Contributor

An Iconic Mexican Restaurant in Vancouver

“I love Poncho’s, it’s my pride and joy! I love coming here every day and opening the doors. I turn upside down to please my customers,” beams Kaeta Vazquez, the charismatic host and proud founder of Poncho’s Mexican Restaurant.

Raised in Mexico City, Kaeta was always happiest in the kitchen cooking with her mother. “People always loved my cooking, so I grew up dreaming of one day opening my own restaurant,” says Kaeta, who ran a successful Mexican restaurant in Montreal prior to moving to Vancouver in the 1980s. “We came across this Italian restaurant for sale, which had changed owners many times that year (1988). Everyone told us 'this place is haunted, you’ll never make it,'” reflects Kaeta.

But they were wrong. It turned out that 835 Denman just needed an owner passionate about food and customer service. “It was such a small place that we often had to turn customers away because we were full,” says Kaeta. After seven years, Poncho’s current Denman location opened up, and ever since Kaeta has been able to delight more guests with authentic Mexican dishes and the warm, inclusive atmosphere of her beloved second home.

“Since we’ve been open I’ve seen so many Mexican restaurants come and go, so we are the eldest. It’s kind of a landmark,” smiles Kaeta. Indeed, countless positive reviews in local newspapers and recommendations in travel guidebooks later, Poncho’s remains a favourite among locals and tourists alike.

In 2012, Kaeta was the proud recipient of the Empresarial Award from the Mexican Consulate for her dedicated efforts to share authentic Mexican cuisine and culture with Vancouver.

Since we’ve been open I’ve seen so many Mexican restaurants come and go, so we are the eldest. It’s kind of a landmark. - Kaeta Vazquez, founder
Poncho’s Mexican Restaurant, authentic Mexican cuisine, live music on weekends, paella, steak-and-enchilada plates, flautas, fajita platters

Home-style Mexican Dining

“My customers tell me they feel like they are visiting me at home because I am 100% invested in my business,” says Kaeta proudly.

Using traditional recipes and the freshest ingredients, Kaeta and her crew in the kitchen craft authentic Mexican dishes, such as paella for one or two, a steak-and-enchilada plate, flautas crisp from the fryer, and fajita platters sizzling with peppers and onions. To keep the party alive, diners order Poncho’s Coffee spiked with Kahlua, Grand Marnier and brandy, which Kaeta herself escorts to each table and lights on fire.

On the weekends, Poncho’s guests are treated to live entertainment. “They play the guitar and sing traditional music in Spanish," says Kaeta. "We pass around tambourines and maracas, and everyone sings together. It’s a lot of fun!”

Poncho’s Mexican Restaurant, authentic Mexican cuisine, live music on weekends, paella, steak-and-enchilada plates, flautas, fajita platters

A Caring Host and a Friendly Atmosphere

Anyone in Kaeta’s company immediately senses the genuine pleasure she takes in hosting and serving her guests, and that’s what makes Poncho’s Mexican Restaurant so special.

“I love seeing the big smiles on my customers’ faces and their compliments are music to my ears because serving them is my greatest pleasure,” she says. “The nicest thing is when they bring their families who are visiting Vancouver and when visitors make a point of coming to see us each time they are in the city. I love meeting all of the beautiful people!”

Poncho’s Mexican Restaurant, authentic Mexican cuisine, live music on weekends, paella, steak-and-enchilada plates, flautas, fajita platters
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