Coachella’s Santa Fe Restaurant named a Small Business of the Year

Santa Fe Restaurant, which has been in the City of Coachella for 14 years and has a second location in Cathedral City, celebrated its recognition as a 2022 Small Business of the Year honoree in Sacramento last week. 

Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, selected the local Mexican food spot for the distinction and owner Pedro Padilla attended a special ceremony hosted by the California Small Business Association at the state’s capitol, where he received an official certificate. 

“It was a surprise,” Padilla told The Desert Sun. “Basically, assemblymembers nominate businesses according to their region, but I never thought we’d be among those recognized.”

Though the restaurant offers a unique spin on classic Mexican dishes, with flavors from Padilla’s hometown of San Juan De Los Lagos in Jalisco, Garcia said Santa Fe especially deserved the honor for going “above and beyond” in its service to the community during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The California State Assembly recognized Sante Fe Restaurant in Coachella as the 56th Assembly District's Small Business of the Year for helping the local community during the pandemic.

In March 2020, the restaurant organized a local assistance program in which it distributed food to medical staff, farmworkers, seniors and homeless people to provide some pandemic relief. 

“We didn’t know what to do with the food at first. I think it was a Friday when we had to go into lockdown and we had just gotten a food delivery. A lot of (Santa Fe) workers took food home, but we still had too much,” Padilla recalled. He said it was his idea to prep and give out the food to people in need, but that, fortunately, his employees volunteered to help. 

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