Bob Shallit

Mayahuel owner looking to open eatery in Cesar Chavez Plaza

Ernesto Delgado
Ernesto Delgado

Sacramento restaurateur Ernesto Delgado appears poised to take over the former Café Soleil eatery in downtown’s Cesar Chavez Plaza in what would be his second major expansion over the past year.

Delgado, who opened the popular Mayahuel restaurant and tequila museum at 12th and K streets in 2010, earlier this year announced plans to open a restauarant, bar and market called Mesa Mercado at Carmichael’s Milagro Centre and is in the process of completing tenant improvement work there.

Now, officials say, he’s in talks with the city to lease the Soleil restaurant site that closed at the end of last year after being run for almost two decades by the Ix family.

Valerie Mamone-Werder, a business development manager with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, said the city is in “exclusive negotiations” with Delgado to take over the restaurant site but said no deal has yet been made.

“We’re hoping to reach an agreement soon, and we’re excited to be working with him,” she said.

The partnership was tapped to solicit applications for the space and conducted interviews that ultimately led to the current talks with Delgado.

She declined to talk about Delgado’s plans but said the city’s goal is to bring a “really dynamic restaurant to the park and activate the entire area.

Real estate broker David Herrera of Colliers International said he understands that Delgado plans to offer Mexican food, including a taco bar, along with beer at the new site if he can reach agreement with the city’s Parks Department.

Delgado could not be reached for comment.

The Café Soleil site was run for years by Jorge and Nicole Ix and was a popular location for downtown denizens seeking scones, tacos and sandwiches.

Hard times hit the business in 2012 after Nicole died and her husband struggled to keep the operation afloat. Family members tried to find a buyer for the business but ultimately reached an agreement to close it.