ELLSWORTH — It’s a little over an hour before new Mexican restaurant Casa Jalisco opens its doors for the stream of customers it’s grown to expect since opening on Sept. 4.
“It’s been busy,” co-owner and manager Israel Garcia says when he walks into the front dining and bar area shortly after. So busy, in fact, that he barely has time to talk as he checks the dozens of details that will guarantee a smooth operation.
Meanwhile, the kitchen crew is already hard at work, with over a half dozen employees prepping the many ingredients that comprise the long list of menu offerings.
“I work the grills and love it,” Roberto Gonzalez said, while frying up huge batches of tortilla chips for the lunch crowd. On the meat station, Miguel Lopez slices up thick steaks, for grilling and marinating. All the traditional dishes, like tacos, burritos and fajitas, come with steak, pollo (chicken), vegetarian style or with fish or other seafood.
Opened by the partners behind Las Palapas restaurants in Brewer and Bangor and El Agave in Augusta, the Casa Jalisco menu honors that history, with tacos, burritos, fajitas, enchiladas and nachos in several styles along with steak, seafood and chicken entrees.
Garcia was hard pressed to come up with a crowd favorite so soon after opening but a favorite bar drink? Margaritas, hands down.
Located at 205 High St. where Burger King once operated, the building’s interior underwent extensive renovations, including removing the fast-food drive-thru window, to reflect Mexico’s culture, culinary and otherwise. Casa Jalisco is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with a 10 p.m. closing on Friday and Saturday. Reservations are not necessary. The business can be reached at 813-0008.