October 17, 2021

Former truck driver turned chef is opening second restaurant in Long Beach

By anaheimsigns

During the early days of the pandemic, Long Beach resident Martin Luzanilla was a tow truck driver worried about how to support his five children as business slowed down.

Now, about a year and a half later, business is sizzling as Luzanilla has gone from truck driver to rising restaurateur.

After opening his first restaurant in December, which he started by cooking from his Long Beach driveway, Luzanilla is now set to open a second and bigger version of Mexihanas Hibachi Grill about six miles from his original place.

“I didn’t think this would happen this fast, not at all,” said the 39-year-old, who expects his new spot at 2222 Palo Verde Ave. in Long Beach to open on Friday, Oct. 22.

“Sometimes I still wake up like it’s a dream, sometimes I have to pinch myself, but this is really happening,” he said.

It’s been an unlikely road to becoming chef/owner of two restaurants for Luzanilla, who began serving food from his driveway after posting Instagram pics of his dishes which led people to reach out to him asking if they could buy his food.

Within five months he opened his first Mexihanas and now less than a year later his new place is ready to continue to serve his fusion of Japanese and Mexican cuisine which focuses on items like Angus steaks, chicken, lobster and shrimp dishes. They’re prepared in traditional Japanese hibachi style, where meats are cooked at high-heat on a flat iron grill, usually over charcoal or wood.

But he’s going to have a lot more room to cook in than his original 350-square-foot space, which has no room for indoor dining and just three patio tables.

The new restaurant, which is housed in an 1,800-square-foot space that was previously home to Sideyard Cafe, will have seating for 25 people indoors and four tables in the patio.

“We’re adding a few things because it’s a way bigger kitchen. We’re thinking of adding appetizers like shrimp tempuras, edamame and even sushi,” he said.

“It still just blows my mind that this has all happened,” Luzanilla said.

For information go to: mexihanashibachigrill.com