SCCC alum starts family restaurant Villa Escondida tucked into the Broadway Alley

(Image courtesy tipster Andrés)

(Image courtesy tipster Andrés)

The short lived Torteria Barriga Llena shut down in early 2014 after only a year on the Hill opening up a new space for business in the Broadway Alley that was quickly picked up and opened last week. For owner and Seattle Central Community College alum Jose Perez, Villa Escondida is his first foray into the restaurant business.

“I always wanted to do it but never had the opportunity,” said Perez. His cousin, Misael Dominguez, has previous experience opening up businesses and is kicking in financial support. “He’s the one, I guess, that is teaching me all the stuff.” Dominguez, when we spoke with him last, was opening La Cocina Oaxaquena at Melrose and Pine last spring. Dominguez managed Ballard’s La Carta de Oaxaca back when the restaurant first grew into prominence. Roberto Dominguez, the managing partner of La Carta de Oaxaca and Mezcaleria Oaxaca on Queen Anne, just opened the beautiful the beautiful and mezcale-stuffed Mezcaleria Oaxaca Capitol Hill on E Pine.

Jose Perez was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and entered the food industry about 15 years ago around the time he was a student at Seattle Central. He grew up on the food he serves and sees potential offering it on Broadway.

“It’s not the first place we found, but ya know, I’m going to say it’s a good place to do business.”

The chicken Oaxaca (Image: CHS)

The specialty item at Villa Escondido: estofado qaxaqueno (Image: CHS)

Perez tells CHS foot traffic to the restaurant has been respectable and partially attributes this to Seattle Central’s proximity. He has launched a Villa Escondida Facebook page to raise visibility for the hidden-away restaurant. The new owner is hungry for your feedback. “Anything bad or good — it will help me,” Perez said.

CHS covered Broadway Alley’s unusual mixed-use history here in 2012. It continues to house several Capitol Hill businesses including the much-loved and expanded Tacos Chukis.

The addition of Villa Escondida requires a new tally of Capitol Hill Mexican restaurant and bar establishments. You can also add fellow Broadway cerveza slinger Nacho Borracho to the list.

Here’s where the roster stood in February 2013:

  1. Barriga Llena
  2. El Fogon
  3. Bimbo’s
  4. Poquitos
  5. Barrio
  6. Rancho Bravo
  7. The Saint
  8. La Cocina (Broadway)
  9. Tacos Chukis
  10. El Gallito
  11. El Portal
  12. El Farol
  13. Qdoba
  14. Ooba Tooba
  15. Taqueria Las Torres (has been parked at Pike/Broadway)
  16. Taco del Mar
  17. Tacos Guaymas

And here’s where we are today:

  1. Barriga Llena  Villa Escondida
  2. Mezcaleria Oaxaca Capitol Hill
  3. Nacho Borracho
  4. El Fogon
  5. Bimbo’s
  6. Poquitos
  7. Barrio
  8. Rancho Bravo
  9. The Saint
  10. La Cocina (Broadway)
  11. Tacos Chukis
  12. El Gallito
  13. El Portal
  14. El Farol
  15. Qdoba
  16. Ooba Tooba
  17. Taqueria Las Torres (has been parked at Pike/Broadway)
  18. Taco del Mar
  19. Tacos Guaymas (moved but still on Broadway!)

That makes 15! — with three in three blocks on E Pine between Melrose and Belmont. Maybe Linda will make it 16.

Villa Escondida’s menu includes standards like pollo asado and quesadillas, while also including an infusion of American cuisine — especially at breakfast which includes pancakes de la casa, “villa-style French toast,” and biscuits and gravy. You’ll also find plenty of Mexican-style juevos dishes served weekdays until noon and weekends until 2 PM.

The doors open every morning at 7 AM. It is truly a family business. His brother helps him take care of customers and cooking, his mother covers the kitchen for lunch and dinner, served until 9:30 PM, and he gets support from other relatives.

The old mural stays (Image: Villa Escondida)

The old mural stays (Image: Villa Escondida)

“My mom is the one that is cooking all the Mexican stuff.” One of their specialty items is estofado oaxaqueno – chicken with mole and rice. Perez’s brother and mother whipped up a batch for CHS. “Everything is made to order; nothing pre-made,” said Perez.

Happy hour runs from 3-6 PM knocking off $2 on anything offered on the regular menu and Perez said he will adjust the happy hour and specials based on customer feedback. Patrons who frequented the restaurant’s predecessor, Torteria Barriga Llena, may recognize remnants of the former establishment.

The yellow walls were repainted a soft off-white, but they’ve left the mural from Torteria Barriga Llena over the middle of the restaurant. Perez plans to keep the original artwork up and spoke with a local artist last week on the possibility of expanding the mural.

1888948_220518558156304_1977961166_o“It’s been a good start,” Perez told CHS. “People will eat their dishes clean. They’ll eat everything. Everything. I’m not going to lie.”

Villa Escondida is located at 219 Broadway E, Ste 14 (in the far back left corner). Hours are Monday to Saturday, 7 AM – 9:30 PM, Sunday 7 AM – 2 PM and they offer happy hour daily 3 – 6 PM.

Thanks to Andrés for the tip!

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7 thoughts on “SCCC alum starts family restaurant Villa Escondida tucked into the Broadway Alley

  1. Great sandwiches for sure. Those who liked them they’re still available, but out in Snoqualmie for the summer out of their food trailer. Great stop on the way out to ski. Lunch hours only for now but longer on the weekends.

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