Zocalos expanding and thriving


Posted Sun, Sep 23, 2012

South Broadway’s Best: Zocalos has opened a second location on South Broadway. (Photo by Leah Raaflaub)

DENVER — Many South Broadway businesses are looking a little barren these days, due to the immense amount of heavy construction diverting potential costumers elsewhere. Amidst all the vibrant orange cones, bulldozers, and traffic congestion, there’s still a sign that business can flourish; at least for Zocalos.

The popular downtown Mexican restaurant officially opened its second location, at 2200 S. Broadway. The Broadway Zocalos is similar to the original East 11th Avenue location: a nice open patio, upbeat music throughout the dining area, and a comforting atmosphere. From the looks of it, Zocalos restaurants are a raging success. But no success story comes for free, and this story has definitely paid its price through determination, hard work and consistency.

*Zocalos on South Broadway grand opening in two weeks.

*Open Until 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays

*3p.m.-6p.m. 2 for one wells, drafts, wines and long islands.

                              Rafael and Mario Vargas, brothers from Mexico City have worked their way from entry level positions to strong entrepreneurs. The brothers both came to the United States in 1990, both landing jobs at Benny’s Mexican restaurant.

“I started as a dishwasher,” Mario says, “and then, over the years just worked my way up.”

Work their way up they did, over time doing a little bit of everything at the restaurant including managing. Mario Sanchez, a previous employer of the Vergas brothers at Zocalos, says he very much enjoyed working with Rafael and Mario because, “at Benny’s they worked their way up from the bottom, they knew all the ins and outs of the business. They really understood what it was like to be in all positions, they really got it.”

After 17 years of working at Benny’s, the Vargas brothers decided to take a huge risk and open their very own business. The first Zocalos restaurant opened in May 2010.

“Money was the hardest part of it all,” Mario says reminiscing about the initial start up. “It wasn’t the ideas that were difficult — those were all in my head. I mean, I know this business and I can run the whole operation with my eyes closed, but it was the money to fund the ideas that was the tricky part.”

Sanchez adds that although business was slow to pick up initially, eventually it did, and when it did it took off.

Rafael says that this was one of the reasons the brothers decided, just two short years later, to open a second location.

“Business was really good, really steady,” he says. “We also had a really good offer given to us at the last minute for this location, and we decided to take it. Why not?”

About Leah Raaflaub

My name is Leah Raaflaub, and I'm a junior here at Metro State. I graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelors in Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures with an emphasis in Spanish. I then decided to come here to Metro and get another bachelors in Broadcast Journalism. I'm currently a part of Met Report, which I love, and so far I'm loving the career path I've chosen!

View all posts by Leah Raaflaub

3 Responses to “Zocalos expanding and thriving”

  1. Ashley King Says:

    I enjoyed reading this article. I’ve never heard of this place, now I’m tempted to go. It proves that if your food is good enough, your business can last no matter what.


  2. Scott Corbridge Says:

    Never knew of the restaurant but I’d be willing to check it out. The will to own ones restaurant will never come easy. You have to work hard for the things you want the most.


  3. John Lloyd Says:

    Mario and Rafa are both great guys and hard workers I had the pleasure of working with for several years. I applaud their success, couldn’t have happened to better guys!


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