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Lifestyle! Eat & Drink

Bay Area mole
restaurateur on tacos,
beer and from-scratch

By JESSICA YADEGARAN | | Bay Area News Group

PUBLISHED: July 28, 2020 at 6:45 a.m. | UPDATED: July 28, 2020 at 3:15 p.m.

Lito Saldaña’s culinary story is about timing, tenacity and taking chances.
Eight years ago, Saldaña was forced to close Cocina Poblana, his string of upscale Mexican restaurants. He had opened the Emeryville and Jack London Square restaurants at the height of the recession, when fine dining wasn’t foremost on people’s minds. But one section of the menu — moles — always did well, and no one in the Bay Area was focusing on the rich, 30-plus-ingredient sauces. So he did.
Saldaña grew up eating from-scratch moles in a small town in southern Jalisco, Mexico. He immigrated to the U.S. when he was 18 to work in his brother’s restaurants, and worked his way up, eventually becoming a restaurateur himself.

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