Lito Saldana, owner/chef of the Los Moles restaurants in El Cerrito, Emeryville, and San Rafael, is now planning to open a new location in Walnut Creek.
Earlier this month, the Walnut Creek City Council approved Saldana’s pursuit of a ten-year lease with two five-year options to occupy the ground floor of the city-owned South Locust Parking Garage, as reported at Patch.
The ground-floor space was formerly occupied by a Tender Greens location that closed in 2018.
The city of Walnut Creek also negotiated a 20 percent rent reduction for each month during the lease’s first two years in which the restaurant’s gross sales amount to less than $200,000, Patch reports.
Featuring 100 percent gluten-free menus including organic eggs, coffee, teas, sugar, milk, agave nectar, and handcrafted corn tortillas, Los Moles restaurants specialize in mole sauce, as the name suggests.
A choice of eight different types of mole — house-made in copper pots — augments meat platters, tacos, and “enmoladas.” Burritos are served with mole both inside and on top.
Saldana grew up in Jalisco, Mexico, where he was inspired by the culinary skills of his grandmother and other relatives. His award-winning moles include a mole verde containing fresh chile poblano, spinach, cilantro, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Named after Saldana’s mother, his Mama Luisa mole is a relatively light red sauce. His personal favorite is pipián mole — made almost entirely of pumpkin seeds, as reported by VisionHispanaUSA.
He launched El Cerrito’s Los Moles Beer Garden in 2017. All three locations are currently open and offering pickup/delivery.