About Us

Yolo for Cholo!

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Chef Yeral Caldas has called San Francisco home since 2005 and has worked hard to build his dream. Originally from Chimbote, Peru, Chef Yeral comes from a restaurateur family with his father having had his own restaurants and learning from him at a young age. 

Chef Yeral is an ambitious restaurateur with the goal to open “not just one, but many” Peruvian restaurants in San Francisco. In the years since he arrived in the city, that is exactly what he’s done, with Cholo Soy and now his latest endeavor, El Ají.

Caldas may be best known for his authentic ceviches, which he conjures up daily. With his first restaurant a simple counter top at Cholo Soy, which began operating out of the multi-purpose Plaza Adelante building on 19th and Mission streets in 2012. It was his first shot in the restaurant business and it gave him momentum. His small eatery turned into a popular lunch stop among Mission residents, often crowded with patrons. 

When thinking of what to call his first restaurant he came up with Cholo Soy, “The word “cholo” is very, very common in Peru,” said Caldas. “It’s a synonym for work, effort, dedication, and honesty. It’s someone who doesn’t give up – that’s a cholo…And I am that, so I gave it that name,” he said.

With El Aji, Chef Yeral enjoys serving a full menu in addition to his famous ceviches that have received numerous accolades.  

What People are Saying

"One of the best kept secrets in town!"

- Ryan Basso, SF Weekly

"The Best Damn Ceviche You've Ever Had"

- Anna Roth, SF Weekly

"Food of the people — inexpensive, exciting, and soul warming."

- Kate Williams, KQED Food 

"Ceviche: I can honestly say I’ve found El Aji’s to be the best I’ve had."

- Maria C. Ascarrunz, Mission Local News

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