Couple which 'started from zero' to launch new Mexican restaurant

Juliana Marques and Cezar Silva of El Guaca restaurant

Juliana Marques and husband Cezar will open El Guaca in Ely Leisure Village this July. - Credit: Juliana Marques

A couple who have ran a Mexican restaurant for nearly 10 years believe their latest branch will achieve high expectations as it looks to become a hit. 

Director Juliana Marques and husband Cezar first opened El Guaca in 2012, and spotted a vacant unit at Ely Leisure Village earlier this year after Frankie & Benny’s closed

“We’ve been to the leisure village a few times to feel how the vibe is and it’s always packed, so I think it’s one more place for people to be curious about,” said Juliana. 

“I think people naturally go there for the night or a meal so we thought it would be a good addition to the site.” 

El Guaca offers Mexican dishes, as well as street food, a vegan menu and sharing cocktails. 

“We are proud of the food and I think that stands out for itself,” Juliana said. 

“Our guacamole is very popular; we have everything from burritos to enchiladas and nachos are also popular.” 

The Ely branch on Downham Road will add to the restaurant’s branches in Newmarket, Maldon and Clacton-on-Sea, while the Colchester branch is due to close this month. 

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Around 25 jobs will also be created at the Ely restaurant. 

“It was always a gamble with the site as you are never too sure how it will go,” Juliana said.  

“But we are confident and our expectations are high because we’ve been in business for 10 years.” 

All food at El Guaca is homemade, and customers should expect to see brightly-coloured décor that resemble a Mexican theme. 

When the Ely branch opens on Thursday, July 7, that month will mark El Guaca’s 10-year anniversary. 

And although they have faced challenges during that time, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, El Guaca is now progressing again. 

“It has been a rollercoaster and building a reputation was hard as we started from zero, so it took time of customers to see what we are about,” added Juliana. 

“With Covid, that was scary; we didn’t know when we would open again but we got through and we’re thriving. 

“We hope to make a difference in Ely.”