New businesses finding homes in downtown El Centro

April 06, 2001|By RUDY YNIGUEZ, Staff Writer

New businesses have opened and at least one other is planned for downtown El Centro.

Carlos Salcedo opened Junior's Cafe last week and described the menu as "basic American food."

Breakfasts come with home fries instead of frozen hash browns, for example.

"We're just trying to do everything fresh and keep it basic," Salcedo said.

The restaurant, at 612 Main St., is open for breakfast and lunch, from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The breakfast menu includes three-egg omelets, breakfast plates, burritos, griddle specials and cold cereal. The lunch menu offers pasta; salads, such as Caesar, chicken Caesar, fried chicken, chef and garden; cold and hot sandwiches, lunch combos, burgers, and chili, among other choices.

On the walls the cafe has framed produce box labels. Salcedo said he thought of the idea because he grew up in the Valley and the labels were a part of his life. He also said his father continues to farm in the area.


Oldies can be heard in the background as diners eat.

Up the street, at 660 Main, is Pets R Us, alive with the sound of dogs, parrots and other birds.

Store manager Ruben Loera of El Centro said downtown was chosen to locate the store due to the ongoing revitalization project and the number of people drawn to the area.

"There are no pet shops in El Centro, and we love animals," Loera said, when asked why a pet shop. "We've got a little bit of everything, from supplies to animals. Whatever we don't have we can get."

Animals include Russian tortoises, rabbits, rats, parakeets, emperor scorpions, finches, lizards, Japanese fighting fish, snakes and tropical fish.

Loera said scorpions are a "macho thing to have" and a challenge.

He said while scorpions are depicted as dangerous in movies, his are friendly. He equated their sting to that of a bee, and said those allergic to bee stings should not own a scorpion.

"Nothing in the store is poisonous. Everything can be handled," he said.

Loera said he can obtain different types of dogs, including Chihuahuas, golden retrievers and Dalmatians. His last two dogs, a Dalmatian and a white boxer, were sold Thursday.

The pet shop is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and weekends from 10-6.

Meanwhile, plans are in place to take an established restaurant and convert it into a so-called cyber cafe, that is, an eatery where customers have access to computers and the World Wide Web.

El Centro resident Randy Arms said he's buying the Cafe on Main name and everything in the restaurant.

He said tentative plans include dial-up access to the Internet, although he is still looking for the right phone service and considering the possibility of high-speed Internet access. He also said he will introduce different kinds of coffee and improve the quality of the food service.

Plans should be completed within a couple months. Cafe on Main is at 510 W. Main St. and will remain open during the transition.

Staff Writer Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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