Old Juan’s in Oceano celebrates 35th year

The owners of Old Juan’s Cantina in Oceano are celebrating the 35th anniversary of the restaurant their father founded on three principles: “Familia, comida y servicio,” or “family, food and service.”

In 1976, John “Old Juan” Verdin bought the restaurant at 649 Pier Ave., then called Carl’s Spanish Seas, dropped “Carl’s” from the name and started serving dishes he learned from his mother, Josefina, such as handmade tamales and chiles relleno.

Verdin renamed and remodeled the restaurant after a fire in the mid-1990s, which forced him to rebuild the kitchen. Verdin died in April 2010, but the restaurant remains family-run.

“The restaurant is like home to us,” daughter Eva Verdin said in a news release. She is co-owner of Old Juan’s with her brother, Adam Verdin.

On Thursday, they’ll hold a special celebration to honor their father, who would have turned 62. The restaurant is also offering weekly specials through this month and a contest on its Facebook page.