By RUTH CAMPBELL

rcampbell@gctelegram.com

Starting Monday, El Zarape Mexican restaurant will be serving breakfast and extending its hours.

Currently, the eatery at 2501 E. U.S. Highway 50, is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Sunday. But hours starting Monday will be 6 to 11 a.m. daily and the number of full- and part-time employees will expand to 27 up four.

Pancakes, biscuits and gravy and French toast share menu space with chiliaquiles, a chorizo plate and huevos rancheros, to name a few, said Miguel Rodriguez, who owns El Zarape with his wife, Alin, and her cousin, Benjamin Cedillo. The restaurant is located near a couple of hotels, which are expected to add to the traffic.

"There are a lot of clients in the hotels that have been asking," if El Zarape served breakfast, Rodriguez said, and it soon will.

El Zarape has been open since 1967 and was previously located at 606 W. Fulton St. Rodriguez became part-owner in December 2010.

"In September of last year is when we moved to this location," he said.

Before getting into the restaurant business, Rodriguez worked as a supervisor for Tyson.

"I'd always been in management, so having your own business and being able to run it yourself is a plus. It is hard, definitely, but you're not working for someone else. That's the plus side," he said.

"When you know it's yours, you do it with more appreciation. I'm not leaving my eight hours a day here. This is what's providing for my family, and I'm taking care of it," Rodriguez said.

Without the help of his partners, Rodriguez said having the restaurant would be possible, but more difficult. He believes the addition of a third meal will be successful. "I hope so, with the hotels, just as long as the word gets out that this is a good place to eat breakfast. We already know we have a good Mexican place. Now they can come by for breakfast," he said.