It was 16 years ago when LaCazona Mexican Restaurant located at Northgate Center.
The restaurant, known for its great-tasting food, is making a few changes to help the dining experience get even better.
Chief among those changes is Alberto Lavenant as the new restaurant general manager and Cristian Ochoa as the assistant manager. Both are familiar with LaCazona.
Lavenant worked at LaCazona for 12 years before returning about three weeks ago as GM. Cristian grew up at the restaurant since his father, Manuel, is the owner.
"I went to Warren County High School and went off to college in New York at the Rochester Institute of Technology," said Cristian. "I was offered a job in Dubai, but my dad said why don't you stay here and join the family business. And be sure to bring with you all the big ideas you learned in college. So that's what I've done."
In these COVID times, LaCazona is emphasizing customer safety. Curbside pickup is available and it's become a very popular option, Cristian said. Customers just pull in to one of the designated curbside delivery spots and their order is brought out to their vehicle.
For those who like to eat inside to enjoy the upscale atmosphere LaCazona offers, social distancing is emphasized and customers are kept far apart.
Cristian said the restaurant has also launched a loyalty program. This gives customers discounts the more they spend at LaCazona, but it also gives restaurant management the ability to track orders.
"We have some customers who eat here every day and we are so grateful for those customers," said Cristian. "With the loyalty program we can see what customers are ordering, if they're ordering the same thing every time, the size of their party, and things like that."
Lavenant wants to stress customer service in his role as GM.
"We want to make the best decisions possible for our customers and make them as happy as possible," said Alberto. "We're going to be bringing in a few new items and a few new appetizers, but the main point is always taking care of our customers first."
Cristian said LaCazona has made a major investment in upgrading its dining room with new chairs and he said new tables have been ordered and are on the way.