Dina Torres has been operating a limited service restaurant, Café Campesino since 2002 from a small kiosk on Pacific Avenue promenade in Santa Cruz, CA. Café Campesino provides hand-made food using rustic recipes, expertly inculcated technique, a knack for balance and the artistic instincts of a seasoned chef. The menu features mostly organic ingredients and an eclectic, but old-style selection of Mexican and Spanish options.
Dina Torres, the chef, owner and founder, has an undeniable skill for cooking that began as an eight year old helping prepare meals for a large extended family. Since then, she has gathered recipes of favorite dishes like a collector relying on an expert sense of taste, and instinct. She is a master of sauces and knowing exactly when the dish is ready. Dina was born in Mexico City and immigrated to the US more than 20 years ago.
In 2016, after many years of preparation and planning, Torres was ready to open Jaguar Provincial, a full service restaurant in Santa Cruz, CA. The menu at Jaguar Provincial Mexican Cuisine is much wider than what is offered at the popular Café Campesino, which is limited to chicken and vegetarian dishes. Jaguar includes appetizers like prawn ceviche and entrees such as pork chops in tomato-chipotle sauce and fresh catch of the day. Café favorites like calabacitas, chicken mole and pollo pibil round out the menu. In addition, beer and wine is available, including local favorites from Storrs, Soquel Vineyards and Birichino.
With the assistance of a Small Business Loan from NDC Grow America Fund, Torres was able to secure a lease for a 1,900 square foot restaurant space located at 1116 Soquel Avenue. The loan included $90,000 in business asset purchase costs, $20,000 for opening inventory cost, $15,000 in additional furniture and fixtures and $20,000 for working capital. Jaguar Restaurant plans to add 9+ Full Time positions.
The closing and funding process of this loan was a true collaboration between the business owner, NDC Grow America Fund and the City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Office staff. The hands-on technical assistance and support provided by City staff and NDC Grow America Fund underwriters and portfolio managers throughout every step of the process from loan closing and funding to restaurant opening is what makes us unique from traditional SBA lenders. Jaguar Provincial opened in January of 2017 and has been well received by the community.