But East County residents needn’t make the long drive out to the city. Owner Danny Aguilar has opened a second Orale Orale (which means Alright, Alright) in Brentwood. Aguilar has been in the restaurant business for more than 20 years, working in his father’s San Francisco restaurant La Fuente. At 14, he started as a busboy and eventually worked his way through the ranks.
Despite Aguilar’s wealth of experience and knowledge of the business, opening a second location is still intimidating. “When I decided to bring Orale Orale to Brentwood, people told me I was crazy,” said Aguilar, an 11-year Brentwood resident. “In this economy, it’s risky starting a business or even expanding one. But I think this is a good risk. So far, the customers have had a very positive response to the service and the food, so I’m hopeful.”
Aguilar, who co-owns the Brentwood restaurant with his cousin Guillermo Gomez, said East Bay diners are so happy Orale Orale is closer to home that some come all the way from Livermore, Concord and Walnut Creek, sharing their discovery with friends and family who were never able to experience Orale Orale in the city.
The restaurant is also attracting a lot of customers who’ve just recently hopped onto the bandwagon. Brentwood resident Lucy Paz is one such convert. She and some friends were looking for a place to grab a drink after dinner and she remembered that someone had mentioned Orale Orale. She and her friends had such a great time on Friday night that she returned on Monday with her sister to share the Orale Orale experience.
“Best margaritas in town,” Paz said. “I remember the La Fuente restaurant in San Francisco from years ago. I used to go there a lot, so I know the food has to be wonderful here if it’s anything like Danny’s father’s restaurant. The chips and salsa alone are fantastic.”
Aguilar prides himself on his salsa, using his father’s recipe from the 1960s, when the family opened its first restaurant. “I don’t like to brag. I like the restaurant to speak for itself, but the salsa is very good,” he said. “A lot of restaurants’ salsa is a little watered down in tomato juices, but ours is chuncky, and we use fresh, natural ingredients that give it a little kick.”
Paz agreed: “This salsa is great. And they make their own chips. I could make just the chips and salsa a meal on its own. Since I was here Friday night, I’m telling everyone about this place. They don’t know what they’re missing.”
Aguilar thanked Paz for the praise. Customer satisfaction is his top priority and the aspect of the business that brings him the most joy. He enjoys meeting new customers, catching up with returning customers and offering quality meals and service that leave customers happy and eager to come back. Customers such as Paz have helped the restaurant get off to a steady start.
The restaurant opened in October, and Aguilar said he’s already acquired new customers who show up several times a week. While the food is winning over East County residents this fall, Aguilar is already planning for the summer, drafting a new design for the patio, where he plans to add lights and provide a stage area for live music.
“My family has been in the restaurant business since 1968 and I plan on upholding the traditions laid out by my father and uncles,” Aguilar said. “I want people to come here with their families and have a good time. I want everyone to feel like family here.”
Orale Orale Mexican Restaurant and Cantina, located at 5601 Lone Tree Way in Brentwood, is open Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, the bar stays open till midnight. For more information, call 925-240-1963.