Panxa Cocina was born out of a lifetime of love for Latin cuisine and a desire to support locally sourced foods. Growing up in Cerritos, California, Chef Arthur Gonzalez helped his German mother and his Oaxacan grandmother prepare meals growing up.
Chef Gonzalez wanted to be a firefighter and started as a paid call firefighter at age 26, but due to a back injury, he discovered his passion for cooking in the firehouse kitchen. He then went on to Seal Beach restaurant, Spaghettini, as a dishwasher. This humble beginning for Chef gave him the opportunity to train in the kitchen. Two years after starting at Spaghettini, Chef Gonzalez was the pastry/sous chef at local legend Mahé before moving to New Mexico.
After working in several restaurants in New Mexico, Chef Gonzalez was introduced to James Beard award-winning Chef Eric Distefano of Coyote Café and Geronimo, who became his mentor. While working at Señor Lucky's in Santa Fé, Chef Gonzalez met Vanessa Auclair, his current business partner here in California.
Vanessa and Chef came back to Southern California to work at McKenna’s On The Bay in Long Beach as Manager and Head Chef, respectively, with the goal of creating delicious, clean and simple food. Their success at McKenna’s led to the opening of seafood focused Roe on Second Street in Belmont Shore. Deciding to try something new, Vanessa and Chef opened Panxa, inspired by their Southwestern roots, together creating a menu authentic to New Mexico and influenced by his family's cooking throughout his childhood.
At Panxa, pronounced pan-zah (the Catalan word for belly), Chef Gonzalez has created a place for flavorful unique dishes, craft cocktails, wine, and an extensive tequila menu. When you leave, your belly will be happy.