Pinches Tacos

Pinches Tacos brings LA to Bham

A slice of L.A. comes to Homewood

by Richard James            Photo by Chris Luker

The skeletal portraits of the owners are on the walls. Near the front door, the You Are Beautiful graffiti artists worked their magic in a whole new language, Somos Bellos. And Jorge Anaya is whipping up tacos for a guest back in the kitchen in a scene repeated time and again in this family-centered restaurant imported into Homewood straight from the hectic, star-studded streets of L.A. His brother, Javier Anaya, is sweeping the floor and getting the Hallman Hill restaurant ready for that day’s lunch.

Celebrities like Ryan Seacrest, Whoopi Goldberg, Selma Hayek, James Franco, Kat Vondee, Jimmy Kimmel, Tom Cruise, Cash Warren, Jessica Alba, Megan Fox, Eva Longoria and Holly Madison eat at the Pinches restaurants in Los Angeles. The best chefs in the city stop by for takeout. The Anaya family restaurants, Cha Cha Cha and Pinches, are see and be-seen hot spots in Southern California.
How this little slice of celebrated, street-wise L.A. ended up in Homewood is a Hollywood story through and through.

Ten years ago, Birmingham’s Ty Taylor moved west to Los Angeles to make it in the entertainment world. “Acting in Los Angeles actually means that you are in the restaurant business and that is where I met Javier and Jorge,” Taylor says.
We became great friends and they sort of adopted me into the family. I even passed the mom test with Mrs. Anaya.” After his time in L..A., Taylor was ready to come home to Homewood specifically. He wanted to open a Pinches here, and the Anaya brothers agreed. “The restaurant business is a lifestyle, not just a business,” Jorge says. “We buy for all four of our restaurants and still get up early to go with our Dad to the farmers’ markets. It is all about family and generations working together.”

“I was done with L..A.,” Taylor says. “But I got to come home with the blessings I’ve been given.”
The Anaya brothers bring a long history of family success in the Southern California restaurant business to Pinches. Their father and uncle worked at such L.A. institutions as The Ivy. The brothers, Jorge, Javier and Miguel, bought a restaurant started by their uncle, Cha Cha Cha, and later expanded it. Then the brothers created the Pinches chain.
After a few years of running these restaurants, Miguel started Excelsior Digital Reprographics, which offers outsourcing of reprographics and digital services to law firms throughout Southern California. Although Miguel spends most of his time working at this company, he still works with his family and helps with any legal, government or tax issues, as well as the strategy and planning of the restaurants.

Jorge, also known as “El Pinche,” is the second youngest in the Anaya family. After working in the family restaurants, Jorge took a position at the Ritz Carlton, where he honed his attention to quality and customer service, and then moved on to California Pizza Kitchen and Brinker International, where he opened various locations and learned how large companies controlled many locations at once. This is where he learned and mastered his controls and systems for restaurants. Jorge is known as the system person in his family venture.
Javier “El Darkness” Anaya began his culinary career at the early age of 13 years old when he took his first job at The Original Cha Cha Cha in Los Angeles. In 2003, Javier and his family took over ownership of Cha Cha Cha and within three months, they opened up another location in West Hollywood. It took no time at all for the restaurant to become the hottest spot in town to eat and to be seen.
In 2008, the Anayas gave birth to Pinches Tacos on Sunset. Javier was in charge of the décor of the restaurant as well as training the staff, which was key to the Anaya’s vision of creating a family atmosphere. Once again, it didn’t take long before this small, shack-like taqueria took off. The Anayas credit a huge part of this success to creating a family environment at the restaurant in which guests would feel as if they were at their own home eating a home-cooked meal. The Anayas now own three Pinches Tacos in Los Angeles and the original Cha Cha Cha. The Alabama outpost of Pinches opened earlier this year.

“We run our restaurants like a big business, but it also has the feel of a mom-and- pop operation,” Javier says. “Authenticity and family are what we are all about. We want to serve you like you are coming to our home.” •

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