The Topanga Cafe was opened in 1978 by Helen Zallen with her 3 sons, Joe, Tom and Morris all from Los Angeles, California. Living in Vancouver, they missed the California style Mexican food they loved. At the time, there were no restaurants in Vancouver serving this style of food. So, without any previous restaurant experience, they decided to open up their own restaurant.
The original recipes and sauces were developed by two cooks, one from Mexico and one from California. Albert Waldron, the main cook since 1980, still oversees and maintains the standards and quality of these original recipes. The restaurant was designed by Dick Allen and Susan Kelso, who also created the iconic menu picture that customers have colored and are framed and displayed on the restaurant walls.
The Zallen family owned and operated The Topanga Cafe until 2007 when Andrew Pyatt, a longtime employee, took over ownership. Andrew continues to run the Topanga serving fresh and delicious meals according to Tom Zallen’s motto: “Good, hot food fast”.