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By Collin Breaux | Email: cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com | Twitter: @collin_breaux

After months of anticipation, Heritage Barbecue finally opened in downtown San Juan Capistrano on Saturday, Aug. 8.

During the opening weekend, a line of hungry patrons stretched from the entrance to the restaurant down the street and around the corner into the nearby downtown parking lot as the enticing aroma of barbecue hung in the air.

A line of hungry patrons wait to order food from Heritage Barbecue on Sunday, Aug. 9. Photo: Collin Breaux.

Owners Brenda and Daniel Castillo, a married couple, previously had been operating pop-ups in the Orange County area before opening the restaurant, located at the site of the former Mission Grill. The menu features Texas-style barbecue, and the site has all outdoor patio seating.

“It was definitely packed, and we’re a little overwhelmed, to be honest,” Daniel Castillo said. “It’s a little different than a regular restaurant, because usually when a restaurant opens, they don’t have 600 people outside waiting to go inside. We did the best that we could, and our team did great.”

Daniel Castillo and his wife, Brenda, own Heritage Barbecue, a new restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano. Photo: Collin Breaux

Daniel Castillo said some people who stood in line for the weekend opening had been waiting since Friday night. Heritage Barbecue likely attracted out-of-town customers as well as locals for the opening weekend.

“We do a counter service, so it’s a walk-up service. You order your meats by the pound, and you pick your sides, and we plate them for you on a tray,” Daniel Castillo said. “We like to encourage our guests to make a big shared plate, and we give them stack-up plates so everyone can pick off what they want family-style.”

There is no set closing time, and hours vary, because barbecue is served until it runs out. Heritage Barbecue is open Wednesday through Friday starting at 3 p.m. and on weekends starting at noon.

Capistrano Brewing Co. is operating in conjunction with Heritage Barbecue at the site and sells beer. A ribbon-cutting for both was held on Aug. 8. Capistrano Brewing Co. previously held a soft opening.

A ribbon cutting was held for Capistrano Brewing Co. and Heritage Barbecue on Aug. 8. Both businesses are operating in conjunction at the former Mission Grill property. Photo courtesy of Debra Wells.

Elsewhere in downtown, Mayfield—a market incorporating California and European flavors—opened on Wednesday, Aug. 5. Mayfield is near Five Vines Wine Bar and the downtown movie theater. It sells wine, cookware and other products. Takeout dinner is available to order.

“We had a lot of people come in who had been following us on Instagram and The Dispatch, so it was nice to meet the local community,” said owner and operator George Barker, who is from London. “We started doing takeout dinner in the evening, which is going well.”

Mayfield owner and operator George Barker is excited his new market is open in San Juan Capistrano. The market incorporates European and California flavors. Photo: Collin Breaux.

Windows at Mayfield are open during the day, giving a clear view of the downtown area. Barker is considering doing a supper club for Mayfield, which will have limited reservations with social distancing and a set menu.

Plans to fully open a restaurant at Mayfield are being delayed for now due to the COVID-19 pandemic and state restrictions prohibiting indoor dining. Barker is committed to following safety guidelines during the ongoing health crisis. Visit heritagecraftbbq.com and mayfieldoc.com, and their social media pages, for more information on the new businesses.

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