Skip to content

'Cafe Stories' tells the essentially Riverside tale of an enduring local eatery

Inlandia Institue will host an event to launch local historian, William Medina's novel based on his experience growing up at his family's restaurant.

The Medina family, owners of Zacatecas Cafe, has been feeding people on the Eastside for over sixty years. Zacatecas is an institution in the community. Generations of families have gathered and eaten there together. It's where regular patrons, some having kept their loyalty through three locations, feel like the cafe belongs to them. In a way, it does.

Zacatecas belongs to Riverside, and I don’t think the Medinas would quarrel much with the notion. Like any enduring institution, Zacatecas has watched the changing city, and even as the restaurant has shifted its physical location eastward, the spirit of the place has stayed directly in the center of University Avenue. 

William Medina, Riverside historian, local educator, and son of Oscar and Josefina Medina, original owners, grew up with Zacatecas at the center of family life. His novel, Cafe Stories: Riverside’s Zacatecas, tells the story of the cafe and the people who gathered there. To a lesser degree, many of us grew up with Zacatecas as an ever-present institution, and the cafe's story, like the place itself, belongs to Riverside. 

The Inlandia Institute will hold a panel discussion supporting the launch of Cafe Stories: Riverside’s Zacatecas this Thursday, April 4, at the Main Library. Local historians and Medina family members will join the author in a presentation and answer questions from the public. William will sign copies of the book after the presentation. The event is free, and everyone is welcome to come. Doors open at 6:30, and the program will last from 7–8 p.m.