By: Julieta Hernandez Photos by: Rachel Benavides
A re-imagining of tacos and beer, a beloved pastime, is taking place at the hands of multifaceted chef Javi Chapa and the family-owned and -operated Cruzy’s. With a clear love for tacos and the perfect environment to enjoy them in, the restaurant opened last year for the foodie scene just waiting to dive into the experience. Here, you’ll find that a common mantra is Hecho Con Amor, and if you haven’t had a taco made with love yet, it’s time to take a bite.
“My son’s name is Cruz, that’s where the name comes from and that’s why there’s a picture of him blasted up on the wall,” Javi smiles. “He’s such a happy kid, and he brought so much joy, so we wanted to bring him into the restaurant. That picture of him smiling just kind of brings that environment we wanted to share with everybody.”
The spacious restaurant is dutifully run by the family, with Javi’s wife, Sarah, running the front of the house, and his sister working in the back of the house. His mother is often helping out, while he runs the kitchen and works with the staff on new flavors and ideas. His children, Cruz and Avea Lynn, just hang out and provide the smiles.
The tacos you’ll find at Cruzy’s are unlike the traditional taco stands in town. Take the OG Langosta, a menu item Javi’s served before (hence the “OG”), with a piping hot lobster tail resting amid roasted pico corn, queso, and microgreens on a purple hibiscus corn tortilla, resulting in a colorfully palatable experience.
“I wanted to take all of my experience with French, barbeque, Asian cooking, and kind of pull all that into a taco concept,” Javi explains. “Throughout the menu, you’ll see Asian inspiration, barbeque inspiration, Peruvian inspiration, French techniques … it’s sort of a melting pot of everything put into this concept.”
Every taco on the menu is a whole different story, and this comes with careful ingredient selection from the chefs. The kitchen at Cruzy’s also takes advantage of using scratch, local ingredients, preparing everything by hand and sourcing from local vendors. Though it can be a lot of work, the difference is in the taste.
“Everything is in every taco for a reason, because it pairs with something or complements something else,” Javi says.
Adding to this experience, Cruzy’s has begun dabbling in new takes on sushi, offered on one day of the week only. On Wednesdays, you’ll find that taco ingredients can do pretty hot on sushi, such as in the Borracho roll or the Que Honda, Wey?
For the future of Cruzy’s, the team is imagining a brunch Sunday that will include a Make-Your-Own Michelada bar and brunch-tailored tacos.
Find out which of their tacos is your favorite at their spacious, family- and friends-friendly restaurant.
7402 S. Staples | cruzys.com