Tucker is spicing up its local cuisine with the fresh arrival of Las Colinas. Located on Main Street, Las Colinas is a Tex-Mex fusion that will excite your taste buds and leave you wanting more.
“It's Mexican food, but at the same time we try to incorporate things so that it is Americanized,” said Juan Ramirez, General Manager at Las Colinas. “We can't have too many spices. We have a lot of Anglo people that aren't used to it. But at the same time, we have the Mexican taste to it – so it is Tex-Mex.”
Native to Georgia, Las Colinas has graced the Lithonia area for twenty-three years before deciding to take on the challenge of expansion to Tucker. “It's a family owned restaurant. Las Colinas has been around... [s]ince 1989. I think it was just time to expand. We thought it was a good location. Tucker is a nice area,” Ramirez said.
Despite the restaurant's easy charm, the expansion process was not without effort. “It took us almost five months [to get the restaurant set up].” Ramirez said. “We did a lot of redecoration. We bought all of our paintings from Mexico. The restaurant that used to be here before had different colors. We wanted to bring something from the other restaurant but at the same time we changed the front view. At the beginning it had a different look. It had shingles that formed kind of a roof. We wanted to go back to the old original building. To expose the brick. We wanted to keep the old building with a modern look.”
With sounds from the kitchen and the buzz of customers' chatter, Ramirez launched into the most exciting part about owning a restaurant. “The most rewarding thing about owning a restaurant is being able to have the customer satisfied,” Ramirez said. “When you work in the kitchen, or work as a server, you can only do so much. But being a manager, or an owner, it gives you the opportunity to go beyond certain things that you can do to make that customer a loyal customer. To treat them right. To be able to give them a free dinner, to be able to give them free drinks and then knowing that they are going to come back – that is the most rewarding thing.”
Ramirez stressed the importance of the overall quality of the food at Las Colinas. “I am always overseeing the food. The food has to be picture-perfect. Very presentable. And it has to be quality. We don't keep anything frozen. Produce has to be fresh in order to give the customers the best taste.”
Las Colinas has developed a loyal clientele since opening in May. “Ever since we opened, every day has been progressively improving,” Ramirez said. “We expected it to be slow. But, so far it has been great. Every day has been surpassing the previous day. It is nice. We hope in about six months or a year we will be able to see where we are at – whether it has been a good year.”
The restaurant has quickly become renowned for its margaritas and molcajetes. “The most popular meal is molcajete,” Ramirez said with a proud smile. “The molcajete is a cast-iron skillet plate, kind of a bowl. It is similar to fajitas but it has chicken, shrimp, steak, and a cactus leaf on it. Everything is cooked and sauteed. We put cheese on it, and then it melts on it. It is very popular, and it has chorizo – a Mexican sausage. So it adds a lot of flavor to it. One whole plate will be enough for two people to share.”
A permanent goal for Ramirez and the Las Colinas crew is to spread the word, and most importantly, the food. “I would just like everybody to know that we will be here for a long time. We don't just want to make money and then go home. We want to be here for at least twenty years and then serve the Tucker community.”