Brent Nassoiy-Robinson and Moises Granados know it can be complicated to find a restaurant that accommodates the needs of every family member. The co-owners, both of whom have children under 10, have worked since 2004 to create that space for Bay Area families.
Customers congregated at the Main Street restaurant for weekly outdoor movie nights while meals were served curbside during COVID-19 shutdowns. The movie nights have continued, now taking place on the patio.
After nearly 20 years, the owners have grown close to their regular customers. Frequent diners know when they come in on Tuesdays, Nassoiy-Robinson will be cooking up whatever dishes he pleases; he sends text messages to regulars with a preview of the menu, he said.
“We have a lot of neighborhood crowds,” Granados said. “We’ve gotten to know a lot of customers and their children growing up.”
Signature dishes include the stuffed avocado, grilled fish tacos and the shrimp diablo with shrimp from Rose’s Seafood in Seabrook. Palomas and other mixed drinks are also popular.
As a trained chef, Nassoiy-Robinson is selective about the freshness and quality of the items Marinas uses, Granados said. Every dish is cooked to order in vegetable oil as opposed to lard, which is sometimes used in Mexican cuisine, he said.
“He’s a little bit more demanding on the ingredients,” Granados said of Nassoiy-Robinson, adding the chef favors spiciness in his cooking. “He’s not afraid of spice, so you’ll get a very spicy product.”
Granados was born in El Salvador, but the owners have stuck to serving classic Mexican dishes since the restaurant opened, he said. Marinas recently redecorated its indoor and outdoor spaces, continuing to incorporate Mexican-inspired design elements, such as colorful tiles.
About half a dozen of Marinas menu items can be made keto friendly, including burgers, appetizers and specialty dishes. This low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet has become popular in the last two years, the co-owners said.
The adjacent bakery, Marinas Bakery, which operates through a partnership between the Marinas owners and two other people, opened in 2016. It has since become known for its keto buns and croissants.
While some menu staples have withstood the test of time, Granados and Nassoiy-Robinson continue to adjust their offerings based on what customers want because, as Granados put it, “they make the place.”
“We remain flexible, and everyone knows us,” Nassoiy-Robinson said. “We firmly believe in being part of the community and giving back to the community.”