NO SHIRT…NO SHOES…NO PROBLEM. For years that has been the mantra of “old friend” Sr. Manny Sanchez, owner of Manny’s Beach Club. Recently I had an opportunity to discuss his life and his dreams. When my husband and I first came to Puerto Peñasco in the mid 1980’s, we parked our little travel trailer in the Playa Miramar RV Park, which was next to Manny’s. It was close enough to wobble home after drinking one to many 50 cent margaritas. So we have known him for many years. I am sure many of you have something from Manny’s that says that saying or one of the many others that he coined over the years, like “If our food and service are not up to your standards .. then lower your standards”.
Manny and his then wife Sylvia moved from Fresno, CA in 1983. Where Manny’s is now was a little 2 bedroom house, which Manny rented. His plan was to come here and retire! That didn’t last long and he was climbing the walls. Manny’s background was having worked for a jewelry manufacture in Beverly Hills for many years. In 1969 he decided he wanted to have his own business. His boss had been very good to Manny over the years, so he decided he would not open in Beverly Hills as it would have been competition to his former boss. So in 1969 he moved to Fresno, CA, where he opened his own store . By 1971 he had made his first $1,ooo,ooo. Although his business was growing in leaps and bounds, he decided he wanted to check out an area to retire, so they came down for a month and like many of us….STAYED.
Now, being bored to death, is not in Manny’s vocabulary. He said to his wife let’s open a taco stand here on the beach. So they did and it was named Taco Loco. She cooked and he waited tables. He didn’t have a liquor license so people brought their own beer. One day a gentleman brought his family back for taco’s and asked Manny if he could buy a beer and Manny explained he did not have a license to sell. Turned out the man was a head of the Liquor Control Board and he signed a piece of paper giving him a permit to sell beer. So he started selling beer and liquor. That went on for 10 years until the man was out of that position and he got a real license to sell beer and liquor. Taco Loco was a success and he was soon cleaning out every meat market of beef for the taco’s. Eventually he had to hire employees to help keep up, as he was not cut out to be a waiter!
Over the years he added on and added on until it is what you may have been to today. When we first started going there he had long wooden tables and uncomfortable cement stools. We always came on a Friday and would dump our stuff in the trailer and head on over. It became one big family reunion, as it was the meeting place. Those long tables provided people a chance to meet other people and over the years we have still maintained friendships with those that we met sitting and sharing drinks. Around 1999-2000 Manny employed 108 people and he had really grown. Many a New Year’s Eve was spent there as well as Thanksgiving was big for him, as all the people were in town for the holiday and the place was jam packed. Some people actually crawled in through the window by that band stand as they didn’t want to wade through the crowd. So many fun memories and meeting people like Bobby Unser and so many more, many of who still live here.
Manny explained and not known to any one, he had been placing ads in many of the college newspapers in Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado as well as ASU and U of A, promoting coming down to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico for “Spring Break.” It cost him a lot of money but it paid off in a huge way for not only him but the rest of the Mirador area as well as Puerto Peñasco.
Video Interview with Manny Sanchez:
Manny also opened a steak house atop the building where the Tequila Factory is. He had a state of the art kitchen and cooked dynamite steaks. The décor was like just out of Las Vegas, red shag carpet with heavy red velour drapes. I believe he may have had one of the 1st elevators in town other than Playa Bonita and eventually the condos on Sandy Beach. When the economy went south, he could not sustain it, so sadly it closed, but he went onto another opportunity.
As I said earlier, Manny has always been an entrepreneur and dreamer. Around 2000, Manny had the opportunity to buy into a small 100 year old Tequila plant. Thus Manny’s Beach Club became the brand for the Tequila Factory, which is located on Benito Juarez right at the train tracks. If you have not gone in there, you need to go and have Fernando the manager, walk you through the steps of making Tequila and then there is the sampling of the various Tequila’s as well as he will blend you some flavored Tequila drinks that you will not find anywhere else. Want to take back a souvenir? Buy yourself a little barrel filled with Tequila and if you care for it properly you can age your own Blanco, Reposado or Añejo. He would actually like to make another area that would have equipment to show you how it is processed and maybe a small barrel room.
Video about Tequila Factory:
We then went inside and he showed us a project he has a dream to build where Manny’s is now. It would be a Beach Bar with covered parking on the 1st level and the club on top and then a 50 room hotel also with covered parking on the 1st level. His two son’s Manny, Jr. and Victor take after their dad. Both run successful businesses.
Over the years there have been so many people here who have special interest stories but no one documents anything, so it is my hope that by doing these stories, we can preserve some of the history of the people who were innovators here in Rocky Point and that their legend will live on.
Special Thanks to Manny Sanchez for all the photos provided.
Come on down and share our piece of Paradise only a short drive from the U.S. border.