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Ponce's, a Beloved San Diego Mexican Joint, to Spin Off Rocio's in PDX

Daughter Rocio Meza is bringing her family's eats to Southeast Portland.


Rocio Meza grew up in the restaurant industry. Her father, Ponce Meza, a Mexican immigrant who spent a decade working his way up restaurant ladders in San Diego, opened the doors to his eponymous restaurant in the fall of 1969. And for more than 40 years, Ponce's has been a neighborhood favorite with a loyal following, serving Mexican comfort food (enchiladas, burritos, tacos, guacamole, chilaquiles and margaritas) to San Diegans hungry for affordably priced and generously portioned meals.

When Ponce retired in 2000, his son Ponce, Jr. and Rocio took over the restaurant. Then, three years ago, Rocio moved to Portland, where she's been spending most her time working up the RingSide Fish House chain of command (from host to FOH manager), just like her old man.

But the plan all along had been to open Ponce's sister restaurant here in Portland, and that's all about to happen this spring, when Rocio flings open the doors to her 65-seat restaurant in a newly constructed building at SE Gladstone and 28th Place.

She says Portlanders will have the chance to taste what her family's been cooking for almost five decades. The menu will be nearly identical (you can check it out here), though she's planning on creating a wider range of vegetarian dishes.

Tentative opening hours indicate a daily lunch and dinner affair, with Sunday brunch offerings thrown into the mix. Rocio says she's crossing her fingers for a March or April opening.

Rocio's, 2850 SE Gladstone St., Portland