Zocalo Honors Bartender Killed by Suspected Drunken Driver

SACRAMENTO -- As prayers were offered up in his memory at his home it was almost a typical Tuesday night at Zocalo's newest location, where Antonio Navarette should have been on his shift.

The 24-year-old's life was taken by a suspected drunken driver, according to police.

"We grew up together in Mexico. We came to the U.S." said his cousin, Ivan Navarette. "We lived together again here in the U.S. We were always... he's like my brother."

Losing Antonio would be unbearable to the Navarettes no matter how it happened but there is an aggravating irony in the fact that the young bartender was killed by someone suspected of having one too many drinks.

While alcohol is the source of that pain, it's also being used to bring healing.

A margarita debuted at all Zocalo restaurants Tuesday were sold to support Antonio Navarette's family.

"Life is too short and you never know what's gonna happen," said Jesse Tedrick as he supported the bartender's family. "And so hearing the backstory, I definitively wanted to support in any way I can."

While driving home from work early Saturday morning, investigators say Antonio Navarette was killed at the intersection of El Camino Avenue and Evergreen Street when Xoury Soukouang T-boned him, trapping him inside his car.

"Tough, heart-breaking quite honestly," said Ryan Rose, describing how the days have been since learning what happened to his friend.

The head chef and Antonio worked together for six years at Zocalo Midtown before they both helped open the Howe Avenue location.

"He just was one big smile," Rose said.

The 24-year-old's grin inspired the drink now raising money for his family. It was called "La Sonrisa," which means "the smile" in Spanish.

Antonio Navarette was a friend to Maritza Zuniga's cousin, so she rounded up her coworkers for a night out to help.

"It's just sad to think about this happening to anyone," Zuniga told FOX40.

On Tuesday, margarita lovers bought more than $1,300 worth of the benefit beverage to help his loved ones. The fundraiser will last through Friday night.

Many of Zocalo's customers have been leaving donations for Antonio Navarette's family without buying La Sonrisa. A GoFundMe has also been created to help his family with funeral expenses.

His family wants the drinking public to remember there are many safe ways to get home, including Uber, Lyft, a taxi, or a friend. They say pick one of those options instead of leaving another family in pain.