Serving the community since 1970

Mexican restaurant drawing diners from all over county

With restaurants facing the challenge of drawing diners during the pandemic, a lot of businesses are altering their service options, menus, and hours. In Shafter, there is a restaurant that has been drawing diners from all over Kern County and the pandemic has not slowed the appeal.

In 2016, El Michoacano Restaurant, on Central Avenue next to Bank of America, was visited by Pete Tittl, the food critic for the Bakersfield Californian. Tittl was celebrating his anniversary and raved about the enchiladas. The restaurant has been building on that reputation steadily over the years and the business, according to owner Alejandra Aviles, has been great.

Owners Higinio and Alejandra Aviles took over the restaurant 16 years ago. Alejandra said that she and her husband both grew up in the restaurant business, working in several restaurants before deciding to venture out on their own.

In addition to the sizzling enchiladas, Aviles said that the most popular items currently on the menu are the chile verde and the shrimp ceviche.

"We sell a lot of the chili verde, especially at lunchtime. We also sell a lot of it for dinner, along with the sizzling fajitas," she said.

With the challenge of serving diners with the restrictions put in place by the county and state, El Michoacano has been serving people al fresco for months, with an outside dining area in front of the restaurant.

The restaurant is open seven days a week, Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

With residents who are hesitant to coming and dining at local restaurants, this business has had many call-ins and take-outs as well.

"A lot of people just want to stop by and grab dinner to take home, which is a good portion of our business as well," Alejandra said.

Alejandra said that she loves the Shafter community.

"We are not from here, but we just love the community of Shafter," she said. "Our son was 3 months old when we bought the restaurant and our daughter came after we were established. They both have grown up here and have gone to all of their schooling in Shafter. We just love it."

"We have loved this place for years and we want to make sure it is here for a lot more years," said Maria Molonga, who has been eating at El Michoacano regularly since she found the place four years ago. "We live in Bakersfield, but we are grateful that we found this place. It is worth the trip."


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