Restaurant Founded in Long Beach invited to compete in Taste of NFL event at Super Bowl LVI

Cuernavaca’s Grill, which first opened its doors in Long Beach 16 years ago, will compete in the annual Taste of the NFL event on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb 13.

Photo Credit: Taste of the NFL

LOS ANGELES – Cuernavaca’s Grill, a former Long Beach-based restaurant now located in downtown Los Angeles, has been invited to participate in the annual Taste of the NFL event on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb 13.

Taste of the NFL is a live-streamed national event, featuring star chefs such as Tim Love, Carla Hall, Andrew Zimmern, Lasheeda Perry, Mark Bucher and Ming Tsai. The program will air on the NFL Network and will include a “Chalk Talk” hosted by James “JB” Brown, an Emmy-award winner sportscaster. 

Nayomie Mendoza, the current owner of Cuernavaca’s Grill, received a phone call from PepsiCo in late January, inviting the restaurant to participate in the Taste of the NFL.

As a daughter of Latino immigrants, Mendoza, who took over the business from her father three years ago, said the opportunity to be in a major event such as this was a historical moment for them. 

“I’m so grateful for everyone who’s supported us from the very beginning and still continues to support us now,” Mendoza said. She said if it weren’t for the loyalty of their regular customers, the restaurant may have not survived the pandemic. 

“People come to get a taste of their native land, and it became very important to them,” Mendoza said. 

Marcos Mendoza and Nayomie Mendoza (2nd and 3rd from left) pictured with other chefs who will be featured in The Equality Lounge at the Taste of NFL competition. Photo Credit: Taste of NFL

Marcos Mendoza, Nayomie’s father, founded Cuernavaca’s Grill in northern Long Beach 16 years ago. As an immigrant from Mexico, he came to the United States in search of the American Dream. Mendoza said her father started the restaurant because of his love for food and his hope to give people a taste of their home. 

“We try to make people feel like they’re in their mom’s kitchen again,” she said. 

Mendoza said people would drive from Los Angeles just to get a taste of their authentic menu. When the opportunity presented itself three years ago, Mendoza and her father made the decision to move to Downtown Los Angeles. The new location in the Fashion District, just a couple blocks from Santee Alley, started to attract L.A. tourists.

To further promote their business, Mendoza posted reels on the restaurant’s Instagram, which attracted the popular cable-channel, Food Network. The restaurant is now a viral hit on social media, with over 20,000 followers on their page. 

As the restaurant business continues to grow, Mendoza said she plans on opening a second restaurant back in Long Beach around the end of this year or the beginning of next year. 

“The neighborhood misses us,” said Mendoza.

By Hannah Shields