What makes a good meal? Or better yet, what makes a good night out? Two men named James Blacketer think they know the answer, and if the enduring success of the restaurants the father-son duo has created is any indication, they’re certainly on to something. Together, their budding Los Cabos Mexican Grill and Cantina franchises and the one-year-young Waterfront Grill are bringing in both cash and customers in droves – and they’re not doing it by cutting costs. Contrarily, they’re pouring a lot of that money back into the communities that support them, through being frontrunners for charitable work, sponsorships for youth sports, and providers of good pay for good work for the hundreds of employees who work alongside them.
The first Los Cabos location was opened in May 2005 by James Jr. and Sr., whose close-knit company – which also includes the senior Blacketer’s other son, Jeb as a partner – had been working in the restaurant business for years. Instantly successful, they expanded the upscale Mexican eatery to a Broken Arrow location, and opened the Waterfront Grill in March 2011, with eyes on the market in Kansas City for more Los Cabos locations in years to come.
James Sr. says the restaurants have always been successful.
“I think the theme of the restaurants was part of it,” he says of the success, noting three contributors – the authentic, upscale décor, the well-chosen locales on water and a focus on entertainment.
“People leave their homes and feel like they’re going on vacation for a couple of hours, with their kids or on their own,” James Sr. muses. He says that the restaurants balance both adult and family clientele by simultaneously providing relaxing outdoor cabana bars and kid-friendly entertainment like mariachi bands, clowns and balloon animal artists. ?
But the broader picture shows that the two restaurants satisfy more than just the appetites of their communities.
“We create over 500 jobs in the market, and we are one of the largest restaurants in support of charitable events,” says James Jr., co-founder, head chef and creator of the Los Cabos menu. According to his approach, a satisfied staff makes for a satisfying restaurant.
“We’re in the people business, I really feel that way. We treat our people well. I have seven employees that have been with me since 1999,” James Jr. says. “I think that shows that strength of our company.”
Which is not to say that the menus suffer by comparison. “We have the best products in the United States with regards to the quality of our food,” James Sr. says, noting the crafted balance of Tex Mex, Sonoran and Coastal cooking Los Cabos in particular offers. “We have a full menu that encompasses a lot of things that you typically won’t find in Mexican restaurants.”
Take this attention to culinary diversity, along with a principled daily usage of fresh, not canned, food, high quality service backed by 13 years of experience in the restaurant business, and couple it with familial care for the people who work there, and it’s not hard to see why the venues are successful, winning numerous awards and accolades.