Member Spotlight

 

AUGUST- MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

PAZ Cantina’s Recipe for Success: Cultura and Cuisine

For PAZ Taqueria Y Cantina’s Chef and Owner, Michael Reyes, the idea of mixing art, culture, food and fun isn’t just smart business, but a way of life. It’s where “cultura meets cuisine”.

Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Reyes has been in the restaurant business for 35 years. He’s opened eateries nationwide ranging from German, Korean and Japanese to Mexican food. Because of his Latin roots and love of Asian cuisine, Reyes says, “I have a Chino-Latino style of cooking. Lots of Asian spices and chiles.” 

Reyes came to Arizona 11 years ago “and started opening restaurants for other people. They were the money people and I was just the guy who executed.” PAZ first solo venture came in 2010 when he and his partner, opened a Filipino food truck, which eventually evolved in PAZ Cantina on Roosevelt and Third Street.

“PAZ is a cultura and cuisine concept. I say cultura because we have a beautiful footprint on this unique corner that we’ve been beautifying and investing in since we arrived 9 months ago. All my flavors come from my mother, father and grandparents. We’ve been able to Chicanofy the corner.”

Reyes’ timing could not have been better. The Valley’s economy is on an upswing, Roosevelt has become a major art and food hotspot in the past several years, Arizona State University’s downtown campus and the adjacent University of Arizona campuses are rapidly expanding and more people are opting to live downtown.

Visitors to PAZ are immediately struck by the restaurant’s creative vibe. In recent months, the spot has hosted live music, mural painting, business networking mixers, and a Mexican “Lucha Libre” wrestling competition. The restaurant walls are lined with the work of local artists.

“We love having original artwork on the walls, especially local talent, and for every piece of art sold here every penny goes to the artist,” said Reyes. “Helping Latino art in every form take root, bloom and spread is an important part of who we are as a business and a member of the community. We have a story to tell and our story is American with Latin roots.”


 JULY-MEMBER SPOTLIGHT



There's no other way to say it: Cathy Garcia is chic...To be specific, she's "Cha Cha Chic."

As the founder and President of Cha-Cha Chic and a long-time member of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Garcia lives and breathes the vivacious style, tone and cultura of the clothing and accessories she creates. But along with the emoción y pasión she brings to her business, Garcia's resume is packed with the experience it takes to run a growing company. Her life has included jobs in retail clothing, cosmetics and decorating. 

She's also a gifted artist. If Garcia can imagine it, she can sketch it. After that, it's all about finding the right people who can execute her ideas. It's a formula that so far has helped her build a client base that includes, among many others, the Latin Grammys and the Academy Awards.

Garcia's says her company is named for her Chihuahua, Cha Cha, a fitting tribute given the unbridled energy of her designs. While Cha Cha (the company not the dog) began with a line of T-shirts, it has since evolved to offer a wide range of jewelry and other accessories.

While the company's name came from her Chihuahua, Garcia attributes the inspiration for her startup to her granddaughter. One day after wondering out loud what she would do next in life, her granddaughter said, "Nana, you're creative. Create!"

And that's exactly what Garcia's been doing ever since. Learn more about Cha Cha Chic by visiting www.cha-chachic.com or emailcathy@cha-chachi.com.