From Mexican food to cupcakes, Mihaylo alumni have left their mark on the Southland by establishing restaurants that have been the delight of locals and visitors alike, including these seven alumni-owned establishments in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
Mihaylo alumni start innovative technological companies, balance the budgets of leading firms and achieve top corporate positions at a diverse set of organizations. But some have left their mark on Southern California through their culinary creations.
Following are seven alumni-owned restaurants in the region.
- Café Hidalgo
The Café Hidalgo story goes back to 1922, when the Villa del Sol Hotel, one of the city’s early landmarks, was built. Today, the building has several restaurants and boutiques, including the Mexican café founded and owned by Mihaylo MBA alumnus and author Michael Oates ’92. The café features courtyard and patio dining, wine tasting, gourmet cuisine to go and local catering.
- Hapa Cupcakes
Mihaylo alumna Akemi Lee ’10 (finance) and fellow Titan Hanayo Martin ’11 (advertising) are the cofounders of Downtown Fullerton’s Hapa Cupcakes, which offers gourmet, alcohol-infused, vegan and gluten-free cupcakes, as well as cakes for weddings and other events.
Long Beach’s Korean-Mexican fusion restaurant Seoulmate opened a second location in Downtown Fullerton on Jan. 5. The original location was founded by CSU Fullerton RTVF alumnus Jason Kang ’09, with Mihaylo marketing alumnus Sean Butler ’10, the co-owner of the new Fullerton site. The restaurant features burritos, tacos, burgers, tortas, fried chicken, kimchi pork stew and the traditional Korean dish bibimbap.
- Top Class Gourmet Pizza
Mihaylo alumna Hannah Isaacs ’04 (marketing) is co-owner of Top Class Gourmet Pizza, along with her father, Ronald Isaacs. The family business has locations in Anaheim and Fullerton. Available for dine-in or catering, the restaurants feature salads, calzones, pasta, sandwiches and desserts, in addition to their large selection of pizzas and daily happy hour.
- Sadaf Restaurant
Sadaf Salout ’07, ’10 (MBA – entrepreneurship) grew up around the culinary world. Her first job was at age 13 in her father’s Darya Restaurant in Orange, one of the county’s first Persian restaurants. After graduating at Mihaylo, Salout opened Sadaf Restaurant in Encino, her namesake which is also the Persian word for “sea shell.” The food is served with 100% vegetable or olive oils and Salout takes pride on avoiding any preservatives or additives to create the healthiest meals possible. Entrees include juicy chicken, koobideh sandwich and white fish.
Mihaylo finance alumnus Ted Vu ’02 and CSU Fullerton fine arts alumnus Scott Nguyen ’04 opened their first tea bar business in Garden Grove in 2001. Today, they have two additional locations in Costa Mesa and Rowland Heights with plans for future expansion through franchising. The tea bars feature an Asian-American fusion of smoothies, boba-style drinks, slushies and coffees.
- Draughts Restaurant & Bar
CSU Fullerton business and criminal justice alumnus Raj Gujral ’00 has owned Thousand Oaks’ Draughts Restaurant & Bar since 2010. The establishment features made-from-scratch pizza, pasta, salads and seafood in a sports bar atmosphere with 19 HDTVs.