Two months ago, Ayutla Restaurant opened at 2778 24th Street, inside 88 years old Mexican restaurant Casa Sanchez.

Casa Sanchez gained national fame for a 1999 “free lunch for life” promotion, in which up to 50 customers who got a tattoo of the restaurant’s mascot logo: Jimmy the Cornman, could get one free meal and drink per day for life. Family matriarch and marketing mastermind Martha Sanchez passed away in 2011, so her daughter Marta Sanchez (yes, they have a similar first name) took over operations of the restaurant. The family opted to turn the patio space into an evening music venue for latin bands and punk rock, in order to make ends meet.

Ayutla is the reincarnation of La Posta Restaurant which was evicted from 2891 24th Street, after almost 30 years in business, because the landlord replaced the building with a condominium. La Posta owners Luis and Maria Elena Banuelos were displaced, but soon found refuge at Casa Sanchez, because Marta and Maria Elena had been grade school classmates.

Both families agreed to collaborate together. The Banuelos would take over the kitchen and implement their extensive seafood menu, while Casa Sanchez continues to be a popular evening music venue. There’s a $5 to $10 cover charge during live music shows, but no fee for diners.

Please note that Casa Sanchez at 53 Camellia Avenue is not a restaurant, but the mailing address for Casa Sanchez Foods LLC, their separate retail food business of bagged tortilla chips and tubs of fresh salsas, found at many supermarkets.

Ayutla Restaurant is open daily from 11 am to 10 pm.

Photo Credit: Luis Chong