For the past 18 years, Café Bravo in Oakdale has been offering signature cocktails and margaritas alongside a unique menu that is popular with locals and international guests alike.
In the beginning, back in 2004, owner Javier Cancino and his family had to gut the former restaurant and do a full remodel.
“Very few people will remember this but right where the bar is there was a tortilla machine that made fresh tortillas for the first year,” said Cancino. “It is incredible what we have done over these years.”
There is a bar area, but the restaurant is family friendly. They have several televisions for sporting events and play all kinds of music for guests to enjoy. They have been known to throw a party or two and have some events coming up in April and May.
On April 9 and 10, the annual Oakdale Rodeo will take place and Café Bravo will be packed the entire weekend. They will have specials and extended hours during that time. The bar scene will take over after 5 p.m. and the DJ will start spinning for those 21 and older. This is the busiest weekend of the year for the restaurant.
For Cinco de Mayo they will host another big party with specialty items and themed drinks.
Although the pandemic put a damper on things for a bit, Bravo survived and credits their loyal customers for keeping them alive.
“I have always appreciated this town but now even more,” said Cancino. “They kept checking on us. The regulars made sure we stayed busy. It has been exciting. We still do ‘to go’ drinks. It worked for us and it is still available.”
They offer some beers on tap and a broad wine list but their margaritas are the number one seller at Bravo. The bar has a large selection of tequilas that make up their delicious margaritas that come in a variety of flavors like the watermelon, cucumber, coconut and the spicy jalapeno margarita. For those that are calorie concerned they offer a skinny margarita that is less than 100 calories. They use fresh fruits and juices.
Lead Bartender Cody Terpstra shared that there are several signature drinks that are crowd pleasers like the Mojito with rum, fresh muddled mint and lime; La Paloma with 100 percent Agave Blanco tequila, grapefruit juice, rimmed with Tajin; the fruity Sangria; and a traditional Old Fashioned served with rye whiskey or a whiskey of your choice.
For those that may be looking for a shot with some spice then the Caliente is for you with some Malibu passion fruit and a splash of Tabasco. Terpstra noted that this shot is very popular and several locals request the “hot shot.”
“The Caliente shots are probably my favorite drink to make because when you go to the table and bring them the tray of shots over, they are all excited for it. That is probably the best,” remarked Terpstra. “My favorite drink is probably the Jalapeno Margarita; it is a little different than the regular margarita, it is spicier.”
The refreshing Blueberry Mash is not only eye pleasing but satisfying to the taste buds with Stoli Blueberi Vodka, Elderflower Liqueur, fresh blueberries, fresh mint, fresh squeezed lime juice and a splash of soda.
Mezcal has been trending for some time and they use it in one of their signature drinks called the Chain Smoker that has pineapple, agave nectar, and sour mix. The name is very fitting as the Mezcal gives this tasty cocktail a smoky finish.
Terpstra has been with Bravo for nine years and bartending for five years. While he has been bartending, he has met a lot of people and several travelers from other countries that stop by on their way to Yosemite.
“The thing with bartending is that you meet people that you would never meet in the first place,” he said.
1275 E. F St., Oakdale
4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday
11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Saturday
11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday
11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday
cafebravolatinkitchen.com or 209-847-3730