Kevin Aquirre, Felix Continental Cafe - Mar Apr 21

When Felix Continental Café Manager Kevin Aguirre isn’t serving authentic Cuban and Spanish dishes, he loves to spend time surfing and bodyboarding. “As you paddle out, the noise of the world falls away,” he says. “It’s peaceful, rewarding and a great exercise.”

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Kevin Aguirre, Felix Continental Cafe

When Felix Continental Café Manager Kevin Aguirre graduated from high school, he started working at the café by covering shifts for his brother.  Now, 40 years later, the job has transitioned into much more than just a career.

“The restaurant bug bit me, and the cafe is such a part of me now,” says Aguirre.

Even as a college student, Aguirre was dedicated to working at the restaurant.  He spent his weeks going to school in San Diego and would drive up to Orange every weekend to work at Felix’s.  At the time, he loved the freedom that being a waiter gave him.  He saved up his money to travel the world, taking several months off to visit friends from the international school he attended.

Aguirre grew up with the restaurant and remembers how both he and Felix’s have changed over the years.  When he first started, his uniform was an elegant white coat complete with a cummerbund and a tie, and the napkins were made out of decorative linen.

But when first generation owner, Ramon Calderon, decided to change the original concept to a more family friendly atmosphere, Aguirre says that’s when he felt truly committed to Felix’s.  With 99 cent breakfast specials and an expanded outdoor dining area, customers would sometimes wait an hour-and-a-half just to eat at Felix’s.  And in 1994, he moved up from a waiter to a manager, kicking off a lifetime in the service industry.

“When I became a manager, that’s when my life changed,” he says.  “It flipped my world around.”

Aguirre’s favorite part of the business is the relationships he’s made with customers and colleagues.  Whether it’s celebrating a birthday or watching customers get engaged, he says every day is like a party.  “My heart is so warm when I see our regulars coming in,” he says.  “When I look at new customers, I think how they’re going to be regulars, so I better get to know them. They’re like a new child coming into the family.”

While Felix’s has become an integral part of Aguirre’s life, Aguirre has also left an impression on the business.  Second generation owner, Carlos Calderon, has known Aguirre since the beginning, when he was a college student.

“He started off just as a waiter and now he’s my right-hand man,” says Calderon.  “We would not have the success and longevity we’ve had if it weren’t for his contributions and help.”

As he heads into 2021, Aguirre is looking forward to serving Old Towne and turning customers into lifelong friends.  “We’re like a family welcoming customers in,” he says.  “It’s more than just serving food.  We’ve become part of the community.”

Felix Continental Cafe
36 Plaza Square, Old Towne Orange CA 92866  /  714-633-5842

Published in the Mar Apr 21 edition of the Old Towne Orange Plaza Review

Photo by Jeanine Hill

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