Cafe Coyote Owners
For over 27 years Cafe Coyote has remained one of San Diego’s Landmark Restaurants located in the Heart of Old Town San Diego’s Historic Walking District and “The Birthplace of California”. A friendly staff, loyal patrons delicious Mexican Food and a Festive Atmosphere have contributed to Cafe Coyote’s being voted Best Mexican Restaurant 10 years in a row!
Lehn Goetz co-founded Cafe Coyote upstairs in the Old Town Esplanade over 25 years ago with her husband and business partner Richard Goetz. The building then was 25% occupied and at the south end of Old Town. The area lacked foot traffic and a cohesive marketing plan. Lehn was instrumental in Marketing the south end of Old Town and was a founding member in forming a Business Improvement District for Old Town. Cafe Coyote originally was a 70 seat Southwest Restaurant and has now grown into a 700 seat Traditional Mexican Food Restaurant. Cafe Coyote has won the prestige’s Gold Medallion Award for best Mexican 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014 and was selected as Restaurateur of the Year 2008.
A cornerstone to Lehn’s success has been a personal philosophy that empowers managers and staff while giving them an opportunity for professional and personal growth. She takes great pride in having employees who have been with Cafe Coyote since inception and who started out at entry level positions and now fill key management roles.
Lehn continues to support both the Old Town community and the greater San Diego community by actively serving on event committees and boards. In 2012, she served as Chair of the Art Alive committee, which is The San Diego Museum of Art’s signature fundraiser and was the most successful in 31 years. She is also a current board member of the La Jolla Music Society, which serves to produce a dynamic range of performing arts for our increasingly diverse community. She served on the Board Member Convis (2006-2011). She was President of the Old Town Chamber of Commerce (1994-96) and Founder and President of the Old Town Historic Community Foundation (2005-13), a foundation that runs one of the largest Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in the United States.
Lehn has also been instrumental in leading the development of the Marketing and Membership Committee for the San Diego Chapter of the CRA, as well as an active member of the Executive Board for the last 3 years, including serving as President of the in 2009.
In addition, Lehn has contributed not only her time and dedication to the community, but monetary donations as well in order to raise vital funds for local programs and events. Cafe Coyote has been the Title Sponsor of the 2013 & 2014 Cafe Coyote Historic Old Town Golf Classic, which benefited the 4th Grade Program in order to save the 4th graders field trip to Old Town that was cut from the budget of the San Diego Unified School District. Cafe Coyote was the Presenting Sponsor of the Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo Celebration in both 2012, 2013 & 2014 which brings over 100,000 into Old Town during this three-day weekend event. Cafe Coyote was also the Title Sponsor of the 2012, 2013, & 2014 Dia de los Muertos, which brings together over fifty Old Town businesses to create traditional altars that make up the free Tour of the Altars that can be enjoyed by the whole family during this historic and cultural celebration.
The hard work and exemplary business practices of Cafe Coyote Old Town make it a true leader in this community.
Richard Goetz landed in San Diego from Harlem, New York as a Naval Officer. After a distinguished naval career that included Captaining a Swift Boat on the Rivers of Vietnam, he entered the investment business with a Major Wall Street Firm. Within five years he founded his own investment firm. He purchased the future location of Café Coyote in October 1988 out of a 2 year foreclosure. In August 1989, he launched Café Coyote with his future wife, Lehn. “We spent the next 3 years working 7 days a week while living in a small apartment above the restaurant to ensure Café Coyote’s success. After that challenging period, I knew I had found my life time partner. Although, no longer involved in the “day-to-day” management of the restaurant, I still enjoy working with the management and staff to help them achieve their professional and personal goals. I am most proud of how many hard working employees have remained with us over these past 20 years and how many loyal, happy customers we have earned. Both have been essential to our success.”