Jesus Montejano explains his ideas for the courtyard in front of El Azteca Mexican Restaurant, which he will soon take over and hopes to transform into a new business. — Johanna Miller/The Pajaronian

WATSONVILLE—Jesus Montejano is eager to put his skills to use for the community he calls home.

After recently graduating with honors from Cabrillo College’s business program, Montejano has set his sights on transforming a restaurant located next to the iconic Five Mile House on the corner of Freedom Boulevard and Corralitos Road.

El Azteca Mexican Restaurant, a long-standing business tucked away in the corner between Cadillac Cafe and Corralitos Tattoo, will soon be handed over to Montejano. The current owner announced he was planning to retire, Montejano said, and the opportunity was too good to pass up.

“I saw an opening,” Montejano said. “I knew I had to go for it.”

Montejano will manage the restaurant and eventually re-open as the 5 Mile Buzz House. He wants to make the restaurant into a “hub,” with a wide selection of both Mexican and American food—including vegetarian and vegan options—and beverages, including craft beer and Montejano’s favorite: craft tequila.

For Montejano, it’s an exciting time in Watsonville, with the influx of new breweries, coffeehouses and other restaurants.

But there is still something missing.

“Most were started by people from out of town,” he said. “I think it’s important for people from here to have the same opportunity. I want to inspire young Hispanic kids… to show them they can succeed, too.”

Montejano said he is teaming up with friends throughout South County to keep the 5 Mile Buzz House as local as possible, including using organic vegetables from small farms and handmade tortillas from nearby Mexican bakeries.

He also wants to host live music and big holiday events at the location—especially for Cinco de Mayo.

“I think it’s important to keep Watsonville’s Hispanic culture alive,” he said. 

Plans for the 5 Mile Buzz House are in the earliest stages—El Azteca Mexican Restaurant remains the same, with the slightest hint in corners of the building that changes are coming.

“I’m waiting to hear back from the (County of Santa Cruz) Planning Commission and lots of other people,” Montejano said. “There are so many things you need to before even building a fence… it’s a long process.”

The 5 Mile Buzz House is already active online. Montejano said he wants to keep people interested in the run-up to opening. There is no set date, but he hopes it won’t be too long.

“Of course I’m nervous… there’s a lot of money going into this,” he said. “But I’m excited. This is what I want to do.”

For up-to-date information on the progress of the 5 Mile Buzz House follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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Reporter Johanna Miller grew up in Watsonville, attending local public schools and Cabrillo College before transferring to Pacific University Oregon to study Literature. She covers arts and culture, business, nonprofits and agriculture.


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