Jasmin Gonzalez, The Woman Behind the New Modern Filipino Brunch resto “Breezy” in OC

Breezy Breakfast, Brunch, & Lounge in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com

As my family and friends know, I am always scouting for new spots, attractions, pop-ups, and restaurants whether they be casual or fine. I learned about Breezy on Instagram. The food on the video was so attractive and mouth-watering that I could not help but to go to their website and learn more about the restaurant. Then I saw my favorite Filipino dessert flavor “ube” (pronounced ooh-beh) on the menu which made me even more excited. And yes, I’m Filipino American which is why I am familiar with ube (a purple yam originally from the Philippines). So I was thinking maybe one of the owners or the chef must be Filipino. So I googled it and found an article on OC Register where they interviewed the managing partner, Jasmin Gonzalez. My love for ube and food in general and learning about a successful FilAm entrepreneur in my neck of the woods made me excited to feature Ms. Gonzalez on popbuff.com. It took about three weeks for the interview to take place due to her hectic schedule. I was super pumped to see the restaurant and meet the owner when the day came.

Popbuff blogger Ruchel Freibrun and owner Jasmin Gonzalez - Popbuff.com
Ruchel with owner Jasmin Gonzalez

As I enter the restaurant, you’ll feel the friendly vibes among the staff. The restaurant is mostly painted in pink/peach color, a chic mural towards the back, and an Instagrammish (is there such a word?) decor hanging on the wall that says “Keep it Breezy”. And then I met Jasmin, the owner. She was very personable. After we had small talk, she asked me what I wanted to order and I said “Whatever you suggest”. She told me she was going to order the most popular ones on the menu, which I thought was a great idea.

Some of the Breezy staff in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com
Some of the staff at Breezy

Breezy Breakfast, Brunch, & Lounge in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com
From left: Business Partners – Jasmin Gonzalez, Anne Marie Damaso and Jason Trinh

She handed me the menu, then we sat in the corner. Just looking at the menu whetted my appetite. While seated, I took in the scene. There was a millennial mom’s group with their babies, baby boomers polishing off their plates, some Gen Xers in their running outfits, young couples eating their way through the pancake stack, and a crowd of hungry eaters savoring the food and the company.

Breezy Breakfast, Brunch, & Lounge in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com

Then my food arrived. I was flabbergasted about how Jasmin (the owner) was so generous. She got me classic avocado toast, a longanisa breakfast bowl, an adobo breakfast burrito, ube french toast, an ube pancake stack, and a rose latte.

I told Jasmin, “After we’re done with the interview, I will start devouring the food.”

Bestsellers at the Breezy brunch restaurant in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com
From left: adobo breakfast burrito, longanisa breakfast bowl, ube panckae stack From top left: ube french toast and classic avocado toast

The Longanisa Breakfast Bowl at Breezy brunch restaurant in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com
Longanisa breakfast bowl

The ube pancake stack at Breezy brunch restaurant in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com
Ube pancake stack

So I started to ask her these:

Ruchel: How did you get started with the resto business?
Jasmin: I never really wanted a restaurant. I work in design and development at Rodeo 39 Public Market in Stanton. I helped design it and I brought all the tenants. That’s what I do. I do that for all the Rodeos. We’re building one here in San Juan Capistrano and in Whittier. The developers I worked with built the entire shopping center and I do the rodeos (the food part), and the public market side. We have two right now: Ontario Ranch and we have one in Stanton, the first one.

Ruchel: Why did you pick the city of San Juan and why did you name your resto “Breezy”?
Jasmin: This used to be Ramen Shack and I was also part of it so I already have this lease. But then my business partner, the chef got sick and he couldn’t continue working. I still had a lease on this place and the developer that I work with actually owns this whole shopping plaza and so I just carried on with a new type of food and then became Breezy.

Popbuff blogger Ruchel Freibrun at the new Modern Filipino Brunch resto "Breezy" in San Juan Capistrano

Ruchel: Why did you name it Breezy?
Jasmin: It was actually my business partner who thought of “Over Breezy” like over-easy eggs. We wanted to do a brunch place but we just took the “over” out and it became “Breezy”.

Ruchel: How would you describe your culinary style?
Jasmin: My business partner created the menu, Michael Dancel. He brought in a lot of the flavors that we grew up on, Filipino and Hawaiian culture. He incorporated the island vibes which are very family-style. I wanted to do a different take on Filipino food to make sure that others get to experience what we grew up on and it’s more approachable.

The indoor mural at Breezy brunch restaurant in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com

Ruchel: How has the restaurant changed since you started in the restaurant business?
Jasmin: That’s what I do. I’ve always been a fashion trend kind of person. And I’m very into street art. I bring in the artist all the time. Everything is done by hand…spray paint, that’s how I grew up. I like to see what’s on top of my head. I do a lot of people studying…. color studying. This mural is flamingo peach which is a very calming color. I wanted the atmosphere to be very relaxed and laid back and incorporate that color peach. Restaurants usually evolve just like fashion. I stay true to my roots. I never jump on the bandwagon, if anything, I’d like to create a trend versus following a trend.

Popbuff blogger Ruchel Freibrun at the new Modern Filipino Brunch resto "Breezy" in San Juan Capistrano

Ruchel: You have four kids, you have a thriving restaurant, and you have a commercial real estate and design business. How do you handle all of these?
Jasmin: Just balance. It’s not easy. When you love what you do, everything that you do, you learn how to balance.

Ruchel: Do you accommodate special dietary requests?
Jasmin: Not yet. Whatever we have and whatever we can do to help. If somebody doesn’t want meat in their food, we take it out. But as far as like gluten-free, we’ll start developing that later. Right now since we’re so new, I want the team to be tight so they have to learn what we have. They have to master the menu before we expand it.

Ruchel: What’s your favorite dish on the menu?
Jasmin: I would say the basil ribeye, the adobo burrito, ube pancakes, ube French toast…I really like them all.

Rose latte at the Breezy restaurant in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com
Rose latte

Ruchel: What are Breezy’s core values?
Jasmin: Quality and customer service. Growing up, my lola (grandma) is a perfectionist from cutting the fruits and vegetables to how you roll the lumpia (Filipino eggroll). It has to be in a certain way. My mother-in-law, in terms of timing, always wants to know what time exactly you’re going to eat so she can make it perfect and time it right. And just having that “home feeling” I want our customers to feel that love from the staff down to the food ….. just a relaxing feeling. I don’t like the feeling of pressure when you’re eating or anything like that. I want people to relax and enjoy it. It may take some time for our food to be served especially on the weekend because we have a small kitchen but we’re very true to how we do our presentation. We make everything, it’s not just sitting there so our food will have high quality.

Ruchel: How do you define success, especially with Breezy?
Jasmin: It’s a little bit faster than what I expected. I’m learning along the way. But I love it and I’m glad everybody enjoys it. Success to me is not monetary, it’s not dollars. Success to me is when I can deliver something to make people happy and then in turn makes me happy. If our customers experienced our culture and enjoyed it then I’ve done my job.

Breezy Breakfast, Brunch, & Lounge in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com

Ruchel: How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
Jasmin: Generally as a person, I don’t compete with other people. None of it really bothers me. My main consideration is myself. I do what I do. I don’t measure myself to others. I look for mentors to learn from. I think everybody’s special in their own way. As long as I stick to my roots and what I believe in and everything I do in life. I don’t compete with anyone else but myself.

Adobo breakfast burrito at Breezy Breakfast, Brunch, & Lounge in San Juan Capistrano - Popbuff.com
Adobo breakfast burrito

Ruchel: What word of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs especially those who’d like to own or manage a restaurant?
Jasmin: I would say study. Learn it from ground up. You can’t just open a restaurant. You need to learn how to operate a restaurant. You can make it look great, you can do all the aesthetics and everything but it’s important to also know how it is ….. to take an order, excellent customer service …. just down to everything. Learn all of that, then you can open your restaurant.

Thank you to Breezy for all the food. It was delish.

Follow Breezy on Instagram or visit Breezy website.

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