Capri School students open restaurant

Tacos Del Favor waiters at work.
(Karen Billing)

One of the best fiestas on Cinco De Mayo this year was thrown by Tacos Por Favor, a restaurant created by the kindergarten and sixth grade buddies from Capri Elementary School. The students worked for two months to create a one-day restaurant, held on the Encinitas Union School District’s Farm Lab campus.

Tacos Por Favor brought in $1,200 and served 86 guests for a lunchtime rush.

Capri kindergarten teacher Nancy Jois started doing the restaurant project about six years ago when she had the child of the owner of Oggi’s Encinitas in her class. Oggi’s allowed the students to come in and make their own pizza and the kids got inspired to open their own pizzeria at school for the families. She’s done the project every year since (except for the pandemic years) but usually at the school—this year was the first to be off-campus.

Capri student buddies were servers at the restaurant.
(Karen Billing)

“The parents this year went above and beyond,” Jois said of parent volunteers Natalie Caudillo, Rose Saba, Bridget Burke and Sarah Knupp. “It’s been really good and we’re so thankful we’re here at the Farm Lab. This is what we call project-based learning.”

Jois’ students and their older sixth grade buddies from Lisa Wooten’s class took on all of the restaurant roles: hostesses, servers, chefs, kitchen workers, managers and cashiers. They interviewed for positions after learning from parent volunteers what they look for when hiring employees.

The students came up with the theme of the restaurant and all its décor and tie-dyed their own shirts for the uniform.

The menu for the day included chips and salsa, guacamole, chicken and beef tacos, beans, salad, fresh lemonade and a vanilla berry trifle for dessert.

The Capri kitchen crew.
(Karen Billing)

Sponsor El Nopalito Tortilla Factory donated the meat and the main course and the salsa, guacamole and salad came fresh from the farm. Sponsor McDaniel Fruit Company provided berries for the dessert and Kendal Floral donated the table centerpieces.

The students came early to prep—they squeezed the lemons for fresh lemonade and put together the desserts. The plated tacos and chips as they got the orders in the kitchen, wearing chef hats.

Throughout the day the buddies working together, a pair of server buddies, even held hands as they waited tables.

Student cashiers.
(Karen Billing)

Kindergartner Christian Caudillo and sixth grader Eitan Ruperuto served as managers.

“We get to go around and we like asking customers how good the restaurant is. It’s good that the customers are giving us a good review because this restaurant is only open one time a year,” said Eitan.

Eitan said he likes being friends with his little buddy Christian, who can sometimes be shy.

“He helps me, he’s really nice and calm like me,” Christian said of Eitan.

Showing confidence in his managerial role, Christian stopped to caution “Slow down!” to one eager server who was rushing to his table of guests.