Riverside is one Southern California city that can say its businesses are growing -- specifically restaurants.
Since Nov. 11, 2011, four new restaurants have opened in Riverside, and three of them are considered upscale. Canton Chinese started with a November debut. It's located near UC Riverside.
Elephant Thai Cuisine has since opened near the Fox Performing Arts Center, and Tsunami Sushi has been open for a month in Riverside's Brockton Arcade. Tsunami's owner is from Riverside and sold his home in Hawaii to fulfill a dream of opening a Riverside sushi restaurant.
Mazz is the largest private venture; open nearly three weeks at the Riverside Plaza. Ray Garcia, Sr. opened Mazz, spending much of his own money, and hiring 84 people in the process. As for the economy, Garcia charged ahead.
"No matter what the economy is, people still have to eat," Garcia said.
The restaurant required an investment of several hundreds of thousands of dollars, Garcia said. Garcia isn't new to the restaurant business; he's a former executive at the parent company of El Torito, which is currently in bankruptcy.
"Is it gutsy? Yes," Garcia said. "Am I a little nervous? Absolutely."