By SCOTT AUST, FCEDC Director of Communications
Editor’s Note: This story is the last of a series called the 25 Days of Downtown Christmas that highlighted the fantastic selection of retailers in downtown Garden City.
Jorge Guzman says the only thing he knew about restaurants before he and his wife, Carmen, bought Las Margaritas a couple of years ago was how the food tasted.
“The only thing I knew about restaurants was to go eat, kind of like everybody, to know if it’s good or not. That’s the only thing I knew about restaurants back in the day,” he said. “When I acquired it, it was just an opportunity. I knew it was a good place to eat because we would come here and eat. I love interacting with people. That was a big plus here.”
Las Margaritas, 301 N. Main St., opened in 2006 by David Perez who sold the restaurant to Guzman.
Guzman was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and has been a Garden City resident since he was 16. He worked at Brookover Feed yard for about 12 years then he had his wife, who is a Realtor, lived briefly in California before returning to Garden City. He then worked for Reeve Agri-Energy, a local integrated ethanol plant and feedlot, for another 10 years or so before buying the restaurant.
A Family Atmosphere
The restaurant is filled with vibrant colors, from the walls to the chairs and booths. One of the most striking elements of the space is the mural that greets customers upon coming down the stairs from street level.
One of Guzman’s cousins painted the mural which has very special significance to Guzman and his family. In the foreground of the painting, Guzman’s mother, who died when Guzman was just five years old, is making tortillas. Entering from the left is his grandmother, while his sister, who Guzman said helped raise him, is cooking with her back turned. Playing nearby are Guzman’s own children, three girls and a boy.
Guzman said he pretty much left the menu the same to avoid someone losing their favorite dish, but there he has added a few items people asked for, like menudo, a popular traditional dish. Guzman said he wants to offer as much authentic food as possible.
“We use a lot of spices on our food, and that’s what makes us different from other places. We probably use 25 different spices or more, versus some places might put salt and pepper on the meat. Here, the ground beef is probably going to have eight different spices,” he said.
Many different culinary influences have gone into Las Margaritas’ cooking. Guzman said it’s not Tex-Mex, but is influenced by Mexican cuisine with a lot of flavor. The restaurant offers more than 100 different menu items. Some of the top dishes include pollo con crema, which is grilled chicken, sour cream and cheese, with a lot of condiments; and carne asada, which is marinated grilled outside skirt steak that is incredibly flavorful and tender.
“It’s amazing. The kitchen back there is pretty small, but they can do a lot of stuff,” Guzman said.
Guzman feels very strongly about “shopping local” and supporting small, mom and pop type businesses like his own.
“I do appreciate my clientele. There’s no way I can throw a lot of names out there, but my regulars and non-regulars we really, really appreciate them coming to see us. We try to please them as much as we can. I really like it,” he said.
Las Margaritas has a staff of about 10. They usually have promotions around certain holidays. for instance, on Valentine’s Day they offer a special “fajitas for two” for a $20, along with drink specials.
Las Margaritas’ hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The restaurant is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July.