In order to be a successful Mexican restaurant you have to stand out. Some restaurants focus on the food and forget about the décor, while others put everything into the décor and forget about the taste. Abraham Tijerina, owner of Casa Azul Restaurante y Cantina in Coralville, IA, seems to strike the right balance between delicious food and a beautiful place where to eat it.
Mr. Tijerina, born in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico and raised in Veracruz, started in the restaurant industry many years ago. As many immigrants, he also dreamed of having his own business and finally the long awaited opportunity came.
“There is always fear to leave your comfort zone and risk it all, but I knew I could do it,” Mr. Tijerina explained. There it was the chance to become a proud owner of a unique restaurant in Coralville, IA.
It does not matter where one lives, chances are there are at least a couple of Mexican restaurants in your area, so Mr. Tijerina had to come up with a way to be different. It was an easy task for him simply because he in representing Mexico through food and the dining room of his restaurant is filled with history and tributes to some the greatest painters of Mexico.
“Here we are doing what we love and embracing our culture and our food,” Mr. Tijerina said.
Mr. Tijerina explained that he did not want his restaurant to be similar to others out there. He wanted his customers to enjoy delectable dishes in a room that proudly shows off folk art and traditions of Mexico. Mr. Tijerina explained that some of the walls and décor feature the Day of the Dead, a well known Mexican tradition that goes back over 500 years, “and is something that defines us as a culture.”
Casa Azul Restaurante y Cantina also has replicas of the artwork of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera and talavera pottery. Mr. Tijerina truly created a place where Mexico is celebrated every day through delicious food and beautiful art.
When it comes to food, Mr. Tijerina offers central Mexican cuisine.
“We emphasize in quality foods,” Mr. Tijerina assured and of course, one cannot expect less from a person who prides himself in being ambassador of Mexican culture in Coralville, IA.
Among many scrumptious dishes one of the most popular is Spaghetti Poblano made with a secret Poblano pepper and Chihuahua cheese sauce. For those customers who are avoiding carbs there is the Molcajete that is sure to please anyone. The Molcajete is mix of grilled steak, chicken, chorizo and shrimp that is cooked with onions, cactus and goat cheese and it comes in a traditional Mexican volcanic rock bowl (the molcajete). And if a customer wishes to get something that is a little different from tacos or enchiladas there is a dish called Pollo Azul on the menu. Those who are looking to add more vegetables to their daily diets will be delighted with this dish that is on a healthier side. Pollo Azul is made with spinach, onions, mushrooms, gold and red peppers, cheese sauce and zucchini. The menu of Casa Azul also features regular Mexican favorites like tacos, enchiladas, flautas and etc.
Casa Azul Restaurante y Cantina is a unique place where Mexican food meets art and tradition.
“We want to redefine what a Mexican restaurant should be like,” Mr. Tijerina proudly explains.
It is hard to be an owner of a Mexican restaurant simply because there are many out there, but Casa Azul Restaurante y Cantina is not like the others. Mr. Tijerina found a way to celebrate and share Mexican food and art and tradition with the people of Coralville. With such a beautifully delicious balance success is a sure thing.
Casa Azul Restaurante y Cantina is located at 708 1 st Ave, Coralville, IA. Call them at (319) 338-2641 or go to their website at http://casaazulrestaurante.com/ The hours are Monday through Thursday 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM, Friday 11:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Saturday 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM and Sunday 11:30 AM to 9:00 PM. A Mariachi band plays twice a month on Saturdays.
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