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Our Story

Born in Zacatecas, Mexico, Joe and Ana migrated to the United States during the Fall of 1983. Gaining employment as busser and dishwasher, they quickly advanced to lead server and manager at a local American diner. Joe and Ana started gaining interest in restaurant ownership. In 1990, they pursued their dreams and purchased a Steak House located in Sublette, IL. After nearly a decade of successfully running the restaurant, Chef Joe and Ana knew they were ready for the next step.


In 2000, they decided to purchase a restaurant in Mendota, IL, now known as El Zarape. Wanting to show their culinary skills, hospitality knowledge, and their heritage between dishes, a Mexican-American restaurant became a family favorite and was the highlight of Mendota. El Zarape started getting the recognition for its fresh ingredients harvested in their backyard, their special tasty margaritas and their family friendly environment. The restaurant slowly became the talk of the town. Chef Joe and Ana had their family supporting them and working towards their dreams throughout the years. 


Following his father’s footsteps, Chef José developed an interest in the culinary arts during the 2020 pandemic where he gained admission to the Cook Street School of Culinary Arts in Denver, Colorado. After completing his degree, Chef José began working as a line cook at a local upscale Mexican restaurant in Denver. During Fall of 2022, Chef José moved back to Mendota to partner with his father and continue the family dream. 

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1206 13th Ave, Mendota, IL 61342


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