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Former restaurateur opens again

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Maria “Cecy” Estrada, center, plans to re-open a restaurant, which she had closed due to personal health problems.


After closing her namesake restaurant Cecy’s in 2012, Maria “Cecy” Estrada has been itching to re-open and feed people in Madera again.

“I love to feed people,” she said. “If I could, I wouldn’t charge anybody. I want people to think of my restaurant as their home.”

Estrada originally closed her restaurant because of health problems, not only to her, but to her husband Alvaro. Over the past eight years, she has also had to deal with family health problems, including a son-in-law that has about two months to live.

However, Estrada is happy to re-open and serve the Madera Community with her new restaurant La Canchanilla at 600 N. D Street.

“Cachanilla is Mexicali,” she said. “That’s what they call the people from that area. I want to bring Mexicali to Madera.”

Specializing in Mexican food, Cecy’s specialty is tacos el pastor in addition to a bacon wrapped hot dog she began serving many years ago.

“We weren’t going to sell bacon wrapped hot dogs, but my daughter told me I had to sell it,” she said. “I spent 10 years selling hot dogs. They will be on the menu.”

La Cachanilla will host a grand opening celebration this weekend, beginning on Friday when they will be selling tacos for $1.

“We will have music and it will be like a party,” she said.

In the past seven years, Estrada has been working on getting her health back, but she never lost the love for cooking.

“I got sick and had to close because of my health,” she said. “I’m good now. I love the kitchen and want to be there. I’ve always had it in my heart to run a restaurant. I’ve always worked for other people, but I want to run my own kitchen.”

Although she opened just two weeks ago, Estrada is optimistic about the future of La Cachanilla.

“It’s been good enough for the beginning,” she said. “There’s a lot of people coming here. It’s going to take a year for people to know we’re here. I have a lot of practice and I have the passion for cooking and feeding people.”

Cecy’s husband and niece Johanna Barraza also work at La Cachanilla, as well as Martha Carvajal, who was also a cook at Cecy’s.

“I wanted to open a restaurant because I love to cook,” she said. “I love the kitchen. I love Madera and I love life.”

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