El Chicano Restaurant to Downsize

El Chicano building. Mitch Borden / KMXT

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

El Chicano Mexican Restaurant and Cantina is moving after 22 years in its current location downtown. But it’s not going far.

KMXT sat down with owner Ana Bravo to chat about the restaurant’s future.

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Bravo sits in the bar area during off-hours.

It’s a large room. Large enough for all the weddings, reunions, dance lessons, and gatherings it’s hosted over the years.

But, Bravo says, it’s time to go smaller.

“It’s just too much overhead. Too much. Too much. The menu was too big. It worked for a long time, but the economy of Kodiak has changed a lot, so downsizing I think is best for us.”

Bravo is from Los Angeles and her husband is from Mexico. She says they opened the restaurant in 1980, and this is their second location in town.

It has the bar area and then a separate dining space where they serve Mexican food with other options throw in.

“Steaks, wraps, salads. We sell a lot of burgers. A lot.  Surprisingly enough, we sold a lot of burgers. Our burgers are good, so we just kept with that and just whatever worked we kept on the menu.”

She says over the time running El Chicano, she’s enjoyed getting to know the community and the people who walk through the restaurant’s doors.

“I love that part of my job. Meeting everybody, talking with everybody, seeing their children grow up and still coming to El Chicano. That’s been phenomenal.”

Bravo says the next location will be smaller with a condensed menu, and they’ll call it El Chi’s Bar and Grill.

She says her daughter, Toni, will probably take over management.

“I’ll be there, my husband will be there every step of the way, getting it going and then probably step back, step back so we can retire.”

Bravo says Kevin Arndt bought the building and she declined to share where the restaurant’s new location downtown might be until it’s official. She says they may make the move sometime in December.

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