Damian Otero and Miguel Hernandez, owners of Rreal Tacos, have acquired a majority stake in the beloved, traditional Mexican restaurant Zócalo. The young entrepreneurs have been patrons of the Mexican classic for years, but when Zócalo’s owners—chef Lucero Martinez-Obregon and brothers Marco and Luis Martinez—visited Rreal Tacos and met the team, they began to discuss a partnership.
Zócalo, which has been in Midtown Atlanta since 1995, is known for serving Mexican cuisine made with fresh, top-quality ingredients. The location was originally a gas station that the family converted into one of the area’s first spots to serve traditional Mexican cuisine. The siblings’ father trusted his children to follow their dream and invested some of his life savings in the business. All of the dishes were made from the siblings’ mother’s recipes—ones that were passed down from her mother. In the early years, she spent a lot of time in the kitchen, ensuring dishes were being prepared properly. These early recipes were the foundation of Zócalo. They had ingredients shipped from Chicago and Mexico, and when relatives would come to visit, they often would pack suitcases with whatever ingredients were not available in Atlanta.
Atlantans who know and love Zócalo do not need to worry about losing what they have come to love about the eatery. Otero and Hernandez are not planning drastic changes. They will be bringing back some of the original recipes and iconic dishes from Zócalo’s earlier days and maybe add a margarita or two but want to celebrate the legacy of Zócalo and honor its almost 30-year history.
“We want to bring in new energy and new systems, without taking control from our partners,” says Otero.
For Marco Martinez, this partnership is the start of an exciting new chapter for Zócalo. “I feel like this is completing a circle,” Martinez says. “By finding the right team in Damian and Miguel, we’re going to honor our parents, get back to our roots and bring back the original excitement and energy that made us a beloved institution. We’re definitely going to become a legacy in Atlanta.”
For the Rreal Tacos team, Zócalo is already an Atlanta legacy and will work to honor that as the partnership continues. “It’s a huge responsibility,” says Hernandez. “We’re going to give it our all and bring everything we have. We’re not going to let the Martinez family down.”