Loren, Mari and family offer authentic Mexican cuisine
By Christine Bavender
Photos by Stan Gurka
It’s a family affair at Loren & Mari Mexican Grill in Carmel. From the front of the house to the bustling kitchen filled with the delicious scents of simmering dishes, you’ll find one of the nine Xochitlatoa siblings or their parents Lorenzo and Marina.
“We’ve all worked in restaurants and thought about doing this a few years ago,” said 25-year-old Antonio Xochitlatoa (pronounced So-chi-ckla-toe-ah). “Now everyone is older and we knew we didn’t want to continue to work for other restaurants but rather, do our own thing. We all had good ideas about the food we wanted to serve.”
Loren & Mari opened Aug. 8 in the Merchants Pointe Shopping Center, just west of Keystone Parkway, on 116th Street. The site caught the family’s attention because it’d sat empty for some time and posed a challenge.
“We wanted to commit to this place and see what happens,” said Socorro, one of Lorenzo and Marina’s two daughters. “So many people say the same thing – ‘I hope you can do well here because so many others haven’t. They tell us they were surprised to see we were open – that one day they’re driving by and it’s empty and the next day here we are.”