National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15th to October 15th, which makes it a great time to highlight some of the Hispanic businesses that are vibrant members of our City’s business community.
Novato has a rich Hispanic history. Downtown Novato is near the center of Rancho de Novato, a land grant given to Fernando Feliz by Mexican Governor Alvarado in 1839, when California was still part of Mexico. You can still find some of that Spanish Mission flavor at Unity in Marin, where the architecture and restored Spanish Colonial style decor makes the church and hall a popular venue for weddings.
Today in Downtown, you’ll find stores and restaurants along Grant Avenue where Spanish is spoken, including several taquerias and La Michoacana Natural Ice Cream. There, you’ll find delicious, refreshing flavors of ice cream and paletas (think popsicles) created from original Mexican recipes. Summer may be over, but the warm weather is still with us. Cool down with the tastiest frozen treats in town.
When it comes to Novato taquerias, everyone has their favorite. Whether you’re won over by the perfect carne asada, or a connoisseur of the quality and quantity of salsas on offer, you owe it to yourself to try them all at least once. That includes:
Taqueria Mi Pueblo, a busy and popular lunchtime spot, El Palmar Restaurant, and Carmen’s La Hacienda Taqueria – now offering a full bar, all on Grant Avenue. Tucked around the corner on Seventh Street, you’ll find La Piñata Restaurant. La Piñata is part of a local Bay Area chain which is open till 10pm every night except Sunday (when they close up at 9pm), which is worth knowing if you’re ever in search of late night eats.
Novato’s also home to Las Guitarras Restaurant, on Reichert Ave, where you can enjoy the ambience of margaritas on the patio, and family dining indoors and out, with the restaurant placing a special emphasis on seafood. This family-owned venture began life with a location in San Francisco’s Mission district, with the Novato location opening in 1978. On Saturday, September 30th, Las Guitarras is hosting a “dine and donate for Mexico” event, with a portion of sales donated to Cuernavaca Morelos Red Cross, to help those affected by recent earthquakes in Mexico.
Over on South Novato Blvd you’ll find Tommy’s Salsa. The clue is in the name, as they pride themselves on award-winning salsas and fresh ingredients. Delivery service Dine in Marin offers Tommy’s menu online, if you’re craving one of their signature burritos and don’t have time to visit.
For party ambience, Maya Palenque on Enfrente Road offers sports-bar style coverage of all the big games, plus popular a karaoke night every Thursday from 9 till 2am, with music and dancing, and “Latin Saturdays” from 10pm, with DJs spinning Mexican sounds for an appreciative audience. Or just check out their classic cantina bar when the mood suits.
Out in Bel Marin Keys, Taqueria Real is a great place to enjoy an agua fresca and check out their extensive menu of seafood and other Mexican favorites. If their online menu looks too tempting, you can always phone your order in, before heading over.
A relatively new addition to Novato’s impressive list of dining options, La Carreta on Novato Blvd is a convenient pitstop for visitors to the nearby gym and a great new fast dining option for anyone at that end of town.
Shifting gears a little, back on Grant Avenue, you’ll also find Guadalajara Beauty Salon, offering full-service hairstyling, coloring and more. Other local businesses serving our community include Rojas Market on Grant Avenue, and Diaz Screen Printing & Embroidery, who serve clients around Marin County.
Many of the the businesses mentioned here are featured in our Shop Local Novato Spanish Business Guide, which highlights businesses that are Hispanic-owned, or offer Spanish language service. Notice any businesses we might have missed? Send them our way, and let’s celebrate them this month and year-round!