We've all heard the saying, if it's not broke, don't fix it.
But David and Raquel Paler found out sometimes it's best to try to outdo yourself.
When the Palers opened their Mexican restaurant in Downtown Lodi, there was no movie theater and Downtown didn't thrive with a variety of businesses like it does today. Still, the restaurant became a popular eatery for loyal customers who craved Mexican-American cuisine during their lunch hours and for dinner.
But with the recent efforts to revamp Downtown Lodi, David and Raquel Paler decided it was the perfect opportunity to renovate their establishment and add to the menu.
"We wanted to be a part of the renovation bringing people Downtown," David Paler said.
Now the family restaurant with a large dining room has added a fancy twist with an elegant wooden bar, a flat-screen TV and floor-to-ceiling murals.
Outside has changed too. The Palers enlisted the help of Lodi company House of Iron, to build an intricate wrought-iron outdoor patio that spruces up the School and Elm location.
To top off the changes, the restaurant is now open for breakfast, and offers traditional American fare, as well as Mexican favorites.
The already popular location is now constantly busy, David Paler said. Customers have said they enjoy having a breakfast location in Downtown. They get customers who get to-go orders on their way to work and those who are just walking by.
"You can count on our doors to be open - no matter what," he said. "You can walk your dog or ride your bike and have breakfast here."
Raquel Paler's mother, Teresa Mercado, is behind the recipes. Mercado first started selling homemade Mexican food at the San Joaquin County open-air market. People would flock to get her food. Eventually, the family opened a restaurant in Lathrop, where Raquel Paler learned restaurant and cooking skills.
Now, David Paler describes their homemade Mexican American food as something you crave again and again.
On the new breakfast menu, you can get egg dishes, omelets, traditional Mexican breakfasts and breakfast burritos.
Two eggs with either bacon, ham, corned beef, linguica or steak include country potatoes and toast, and range from $4.25 to $7.25. For about $6 or $7, omelets come in a variety of ways: Garden (onion, bell pepper and tomatoes), ham and cheese, bacon and cheese, and sausage and cheese.
Other breakfast favorites include biscuits and gravy, bagel sandwiches, French toast and pancakes.
Mexican breakfasts are served with Spanish rice and refried beans. Huevos rancheros are popular: Two over-easy eggs topped with steak ranchero sauce and jack cheese. Huevos verdes include two over-easy eggs topped with green sauce. Also choose between chorizo and eggs, nopales and eggs or machaca (chopped beef with eggs, onions, bell pepper and tomatoes).
Where: 28 N. School St.
Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m., close at 8 p.m. Sundays
Children: David Jr, 14; Roquel, 13; Demetri, 9
David Paler makes this Mexican pizza for his three children
1 flour tortilla pizza sauce jack cheese pepperoni
Spread pizza sauce on tortilla. Top with pepperoni and cheese. Grill for two minutes. To melt cheese, microwave for 30 seconds.
The grande burritos are just that - grande (and $4.50). Large tortillas are stuffed with your choice of machaca, chorizo and linguica and eggs. Angelo's burrito is filled with ham, cheese, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and egg. The Lodi burrito includes country potatoes, egg and country sausage.
But don't fret - the same menu you fell in love with is the same (some say it's even better than ever). The oh-so-yummy gravy with cheese is still available for everything from chips to burritos.
One of the goals of Angelo's is to get the lunch-time crowd in an out within the 30-minute lunch hour. To make it easy - and affordable - Angelo's offers lunch specials. Choose a taco, enchilada, tamale, tostada, burrito, quesadilla or chile relleno for $5.95 (Spanish rice, salad and refried beans included).
The menu is still full of at least 20 entrees. Angelo's favorites, a combination plate of a beef taco, beef enchilada, chile relleno and steak ranchero, is the popular dinner of choice.
There are combinations for just about any kind of taste buds. Or, choose your own items: tacos, enchiladas, chicken tacos, tamales, guacamole tostadas, quesadillas, flautas, chili verde, steak ranchero and chili Colorado.
There are also Mr. Angelo's Specials: Carne asada, chicken fajitas, camarones rancheros (shrimp in Mr. Angelo's rancheros sauce, sliced bell pepper, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole), shrimp tostadas, carnitas, steak fajitas, chicken salad and menudo.