The Name Popolo Catering: What it Means and Where it Came From

Popolo Catering The Name

 How did Popolo Catering come to be known by its name? 


Many of you already adore Popolo Catering, and when you think of a caterer in San Luis Obispo County and the surrounding area, our name likely springs to mind. However, when I first encountered my parents’ restaurant’s name years ago, I found myself wondering, “What does that mean?” So, how did Popolo Catering acquire its distinctive name? Let’s delve into the intriguing backstory. 


Who chose the name? 


In 2006, my dad, Leon, acquired Popolo Rotisserie Café and Catering in San Luis Obispo, CA. This well-established and thriving business in San Luis Obispo led to a crucial decision. Instead of selecting a different name that might have confused our existing clientele, my dad decided to keep the name due to its recognition and popularity. Consequently, he displayed an “under new ownership” sign and continued the restaurant much the same way, offering lunch and dinner services along with catered events. The Castillo family became the fourth owners, with the original business starting around 1980 under a gentleman named Tyler. Remarkably, on each ownership transfer, the name remained unchanged. So if we had to say who chose the name, that person would be the original owners of Popolo.

The Original Popolo Rotisserie Café Storefront in San Luis Obispo, Ca.

Why “Popolo”? 


“Popolo” is an Italian word that translates to “People.” We believe it was chosen deliberately to create a place where the people of San Luis Obispo could gather. Initially, Popolo Rotisserie Café primarily focused on Italian cuisine, featuring a beautiful rotisserie oven imported from Italy by the original owner. The recipes were deeply rooted in Italian tradition, and the initial menu remained largely unchanged. However, using my dad’s background in Santa Maria-Style Barbecue and Mexican cuisine, he skillfully infused these culinary influences into the Italian restaurant, resulting in the unique fusion menu you enjoy today. So, when you see our Mexican family operating an Italian-named restaurant, that’s the story behind it. 


The Name Change to Popolo Catering 


The recession of 2008 brought significant challenges to Popolo Rotisserie Café. Leon faced tough decisions regarding the future of the family-owned business. To reduce expenses associated with operating the storefront and maintaining a cashier, he made the difficult choice to focus exclusively on the catering business. This swift decision ultimately saved our family’s business. Consequently, in 2010, they formally solidified this change by officially renaming it Popolo Catering. 


I thoroughly enjoy sharing our stories with all of you. Popolo Catering has a rich history, evolving from its origins as Popolo Rotisserie Café and Catering, with its original proprietors, to its current iteration under Leon and Kathleen as the fourth owners, solidifying its status as the Central Coast’s premier catering company. The confidence and strength our company delivers to our clients are unparalleled. Therefore, we hope that when you hear the name Popolo Catering, you now have a better understanding of its origins. 

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Written By:

Marissa Dominguez

Popolo Blogs and Social Media Coordinator

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