Restaurant Lozano was established by Gilbert and Michelle Lucero in
November, 1981 (and Gil reminds me it was done with the help of many, many
others, then and in the 22 years since). They are located at 44 N. Baldwin
Ave., in the small “Village” town of Sierra Madre. This town’s downtown
district was revitalized a few year’s back when they began permitting
outside dining at the downtown restaurants, many of which (including
Restaurant Lozano's outdoor tables) feature a breathtaking view of majestic
Mt. Wilson, at whose foot this downtown community sits.
the interesting things that contributes to the atmosphere at Lozano’s and to
the town’s reputation as an artsy town, is that for the past many years the
restaurant has enjoyed featuring fine contemporary art exhibits. The
current show is of works created by Jo Topol, a local artist.
Recently, Restaurant Lozano has begun to offer cocktails for the first
time. They also have a new menu with many new dishes for lunch and
dinner. It was on the occasion of the addition of the cocktail service
that Gil invited me to stop by and meet the bartender and have a cocktail on
with my wife, Katie, and we enjoyed some libations in the elegant Lozano
dining room. My wife tried a lemon-drop martini, which came in a huge
martini glass (call me old-fashioned, but to me it’s not a martini if
there’s anything but gin, vodka and vermouth. You can put it in a martini
glass, but that doesn’t make it a martini). This martini was made with top
shelf ingredients, from a family recipe that Michelle’s sister gave them.
The float of Chambord gave it just a little extra fruit flavor, cutting the
tartness of the fresh lemon juice a little.
had never had a lemon drop before, and enjoyed it so much that she’s tried
it at several other places since. None has measured up to the one she had
at Restaurant Lozano. I had a beer. It was cold.
then decided that we were going to stick around and order another round (on
us), and decided to also order the coconut shrimp, with caramelized onions
and red wine dipping sauce. Instead of the red wine dipping sauce though,
we had the mango salsa that is served with their jalapeno corn cakes. This
was a great appetizer. The shrimp were good sized, and they were cooked
just right, not too crisp, not overcooked, just right. Requesting the salsa
turned out to be a good idea, as the mango and the coconut went together
couple weeks later, my wife and son were out for the evening, and I dropped
by again, this time with a hankering for a New York steak (yes, an actual
hankering, not a desire, or a need, but a hankering ). The steak was
outstanding, long and thick, charred just right on the outside, medium rare
(as requested) and juicy throughout. Just what I had hankered for. I again
had a beer, and it was, again, cold.
to being Restaurant Lozano, this same location was the site of Garduno's
Mexican Restaurant. That restaurant was established in 1978 by two
brothers, Fred & Mark Garduno. At age 20, Gilbert came to Sierra Madre as
an employee of the Garduno's Mexican Restaurant, and he remained employed
there until shortly before he bought the business and established Restaurant
Lozano in 1981.
Restaurant Lozano was established as a Mexican Restaurant serving fresh,
healthy Mexican food. As a matter of fact, the word "Lozano" means fresh,
healthy, youthful, luxuriant. Lozano is Lucero’s maternal grandmother's
Restaurant Lozano likes to offer interesting, comfortable dishes. The menus
and decor of Restaurant Lozano have continually evolved over the years. At
a given time through the years the menus has been an eclectic mix of various
cuisines including Mexican, American Southwestern, Latin American,
Caribbean, Asian, Italian, German and contemporary American dishes.
may not think of Sierra Madre as the place to look for a nice, quiet, fine
dining experience, but you should, at least since Restaurant Lozano opened
more than two decades ago. The food is good, and while it’s not the kind of
place to take a gang of kids, it is good for showing your boss or your
father-in-law that you know some nice places, too. And if you’re like me
and don’t go out to nice places as often as you’d like, in part because of a
youngster in the family, and you have an anniversary or a birthday coming up
for the wife, it’s a great place to enjoy a Grown-Up Meal, and remind her
what you two enjoyed of the good life before Happy Meals invaded your life.
Or if you don’t have restrictions and just like the good life, add it to
your list of places to go regularly. You won’t be sorry.
Bill Coburn is owner of
SanGabrielValleyMenus.com, a restaurant website featuring dozens of
restaurant’s menus, as well as downloadable coupons. He has nearly 20 years
experience in the restaurant business, and has been eating for much longer