The popular Mexican restaurant El Sauz will open its second Long Beach location this month.
Initially, owner Javier Frias planned for a Nov. 9 soft opening but had to postpone pending a sign-off from the city. Frias said he hopes to open by mid-November.
The family-owned chain has been a staple in Long Beach’s Cambodia Town for decades, and the new location on Fourth Street will have exactly the same menu with a huge variety of seafood options like soup, fried fish and aguachile.
It will also serve tacos, wet burritos, tortas, sopas and more.
The restaurant will open at 8 a.m. to accommodate the breakfast crowd and will serve beer, wine and mimosas. When Frias bought the Anaheim Street location almost 15 years ago, he knew he wanted to expand the business.
When owner Javier Frias bought the Anaheim Street location almost 15 years ago, he knew he wanted to expand the business.
“He’s always out looking for locations. My mom gets mad at him sometimes,” Frias’ son, Brian, said. “He’s the hardest working guy I know.”
Frias began working at El Sauz around 25 years ago. It’s where he met his wife, Alicia. After closing up the restaurant late at night he would run to his second job delivering for Domino’s until 3 a.m.
“I would barely see him,” Alicia said.
Frias eventually left El Sauz to work as a truck driver for 12 years before coming back to buy the Cambodia Town location from its owners and then expanding the brand with El Sauz Jr in the city of Anaheim in 2018. Now Long Beach will get its second location across from Gusto Bread and Shady Groves Foods on Fourth Street. It was important to Frias that the location came with a small adjacent parking lot, which is much coveted on the busy street.
The restaurant has been under construction for over a year, Frias said. In 2020, A fire destroyed the building where a Filipino restaurant, Bebot Community Kitchen, previously operated. Now that he’s rebuilt the space from the ground up, the restaurant is — for the first time — exactly Frias’ vision.
“It’s basically the style of our house,” Brian said.
A beautiful mural of Long Beach is painted on the side wall next to the cashier, and sleek, tall, black booths give customers privacy from one another. Its design is modern with square lamps and an exposed ceiling.
The restaurant is wholly a family affair. Brian and his sister, Daisy, are helping get it up and running, especially with some staff being borrowed from the Cambodia Town location. While this is Frias’ third El Sauz location, he has other businesses too. He owns two car and auto shops and Long Beach Bionico serving delicious Mexican dessert near the Long Beach Rescue Mission.
“Once he sets his mind to something, he just keeps going,” Daisy said.
Frias wants people to leave his restaurants happy, fulfilled, and satisfied. Creating jobs in the community and expanding the business motivates him to keep going, he said.
The restaurant will be open until 10 p.m., but he hopes after the initial soft opening they can expand hours to serve a late-night crowd. El Sauz’s Cambodian Town location operates a taco stand until 3 a.m. and has become a hot spot after midnight.
A grand opening is planned for the coming weeks. Updates on that announcement can be found on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
El Sauz is at 2741 E. Fourth St.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with new information about when El Sauz will open.