Jackie Santagadea has been warned time again that restaurants fail and the chances of success are very limited. Jackie has never been one for odds, and even as a little girl she dreamed of having her own business. Over the past few months opening her restaurant involved many long hours and sleepless nights. The 23 year-old opened her dream restaurant, Peru Peru Grill, in Anaheim in late July.
Peru Peru Grill is her baby and was renovated step-by-step from an old out-of-date restaurant that was located on Gilbert and Lincoln. The transformation includes a white-walled open space, a bar and artwork by one of her friends that represents the famous giant Peruvian patterns that can only be seen from the sky.
Her grandmother, who went back to Peru earlier this year, will be returning with more artifacts to decorate the restaurant. Jackie is looking forward to her arrival because her grandmother has yet to see the restaurant.
When asked about the Peru Peru Grill’s specialties, she mentions the Lomo Saltado, a traditional Peruvian staple with beef strips, sauteéd with onions tomatoes and large french fries. For those who like spicier faire, there is the Pescado a lo Macho, a seafood plate served in a flavorful Peruvian sauce. Then there is the Peruvian Asian-Pacific-inspired meal, Pescado a lo Oriental, a fish plate prepared in a Teriyaki sauce and served with white rice.
As a smart business owner, Jackie knows that it is important to give back to the community. (On a personal note, she is helping my niece, as noted below.) Besides managing the restaurant, she helps to organize fundraisers and other events, and works with local Anaheim schools to introduce the students to Peruvian culture and food.
Jackie has local musicians come into her restaurant and perform for customers during the evening, including Latin jazz, acoustic guitar and a number of aspiring vocalists.
Jackie was brought to my attention because she will host a night of live comedy and music to help fund a trip abroad to London for a Cal State Fullerton student who will be the first in her family to graduate from college in this spring: my niece Jessica Santana. The event, this Saturday, Oct. 13, is a dinner show with pre-sale tickets only through Rosie Santana (Email Here). The evening will feature six comedians – Sebastian Cetina, Rufus Tanksley, Adee McCovy, Skillz Hudson, Marcella Arguello and headliner Mike “Cochino” Rojas – from 7 to 11:30 p.m. plus a live DJ after the show.