Since the age of 7, Dayana Salazar has aspired to be like her mom, Veronica. That's a fitting start since young Veronica also wanted to be like her mom.

Along with her 11 siblings, Veronica grew up in her family's restaurant, Caldos Rivera Antojitos Mexicanos, in 1980s Mexico City. Caldos Rivera Antojitos Mexicanos was a family affair, as each child played a role. Veronica was drawn to the kitchen, fascinated by the creativity and passion her mom injected into every dish she made.

Twenty years later, Veronica and her husband moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Their new home offered plenty of delicious Hispanic restaurants, but they didn't quite taste like home to Veronica.

Wanting to bring the colors and flavors of Mexico City to the Bay Area, Veronica acquired space to operate out of the La Cocina incubator kitchen in San Francisco's Mission District, launching El Huarache Loco in 2005. She operated from there until 2012 when El Huarache Loco became the first La Cocina-incubated business to graduate to full-blown, brick-and-mortar status. That brick-and-mortar location in Marin County turns 12 this year, and with the help of their SpotOn Restaurant POS, Veronica hopes to expand to new locations soon.

Veroninca Salazar & Dayana Perez at El Huarache Loco
Veronica teaches Dayana about running a restaurant.

"I believed I could make a living doing what I loved," Veronica says. "SpotOn has helped a lot with that since 2020. We like how efficient it is for our staff and that we can connect with our customers for deals, updates, and any special announcements."

El Huarache Loco proudly boasts a menu heavily influenced by those countless hours of cooking together in Mexico City. Pambazo is a French roll filled with chorizo and potatoes soaked in guajillo chile sauce, then grilled. Her signature huarache is a sandal-shaped corn tortilla filled with beans topped with salsa, cilantro, onions, cheese, and sour cream. Scroll down to the Ensaladas y Sopas section, and you'll find Ensalada Doña Luz, Veronica's mom's favorite salad. Just below that? Dayana's Mixta Mexicana. 

Dayana, now 29, has done "a little bit of everything," as she puts it, for the restaurant over the last 18 years, while her younger brother and sister primarily focus on front-of-house duties. But the kitchen has enchanted Dayana for years, with her mom's relentless work ethic and dedication to her craft serving as a catalyst for Dayana's dreams. She's currently in culinary school, hoping to open her own restaurant one day.

Dayana Perez preparing food for guests.
Dayana practices the art of cooking at El Huarache Loco.

Sound familiar?

"Everything in life can be tiring, but I've always believed if you choose something that you love, it'll all be worth it in the end," Veronica says.

And so Veronica cooked. And cooked. And cooked. And cooked some more. All along the way, she was setting a perfect example for Dayana, just like Veronica's mother had done for her.

"My mom loves to cook for folks, and even when she is so tired, she gets up and cooks and the dish is always so good," Dayana says. "My mom never gave up on her dream. She didn't let anything stop her, regardless of the difficulties she may have faced. She's given it her all and always keeps her head high. 

She is my role model and is why I'm in the kitchen now."

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