A great deal has changed since I walked in the door of Pancho’s nearly 20 years ago!
Not only did I become the owner, I also met my future husband (who had been waiting tables) and became the jeffa (Spanish for boss, but with a great deal of affection) of 25 or so men.
I’ve owned and operated Pancho Villa’s for over 14 years now, but the story of Pancho’s really begins way back in 1976 when Syd and Jodi Gabriel opened Carlos and Pancho’s Restaurant.
Birth Of Pancho Villa’s
The original Carlos and Pancho’s was in New York, and several sister restaurants were then opened in San Francisco, Mill Valley and Fairfax.
The biggest hit was Fairfax. The restaurant was so popular that the owner had valet parking attendants to deal with the crowds. A full bar with all the fixings of a family owned business!
I first met Syd and Jodi when our sons were attending school together in Mill Valley. First I was offered a position doing the bookkeeping and property management for the Gabriels, and soon I was bartending at the Fairfax location part time. I worked night and day and was in the proper place at the right time when Mr. Gabriel listed the restaurant for sale.
I enrolled myself in full time Spanish classes at the community college, started taking cooking classes, and traveled to various places in Mexico to achieve the finest skills to operate Pancho Villa’s.
In 2004, the waiter I mentioned at the beginning, Carlos Medina, married me! We have five children together, ranging from 2 to 20 years in age. Carlos works closely with me at Pancho’s, as well as running his own successful business, Medina Plumbing.
So that’s the story of Pancho’s and our big happy family!
- Kelly Medina, Owner (with husband Carlos, pictured above)