By Starrla Cray
HOWARD LAKE, MN The Ramirez family is excited about the feedback they’ve gotten on their newly opened restaurant in Howard Lake.
There are tons of positive reviews online, with customers saying things like, “So delicious!! Prices very reasonable, food was spectacular!”
Maria’s Mexican Restaurant opened June 21, and the owners are already starting to see regular visitors.
One woman noted that she and her husband have dined at Maria’s four times in less than a month. She added that “. . . every time, I’ve had a different dinner, and every meal I’ve left there saying ‘Man, that was so good.’”
Martin Ramirez and his wife, Maria, opened the restaurant in hopes of building a business that can benefit not only them, but also their adult children.
All four Ramirez children work at the restaurant. Angel is the daytime manager and Jesus is the kitchen manager, while Martin Jr. and Vanessa assist with management in the evenings.
Martin and Maria have always strived to make a better life for their family. They came to America illegally from Mexico, later becoming residents through President Ronald Reagan’s 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act.
At first, they made a living by working in the fields in California. Then, after hearing good things about Minnesota from Maria’s sister, they decided to move north. Martin got a job at Dura Supreme in Howard Lake, and Maria worked at Shark Industries in Rockford.
Martin and Maria dreamed of having a business they could leave to the next generation, and that’s how the idea for Maria’s Mexican Restaurant was born.
“Every time [customers] come out here, they’re supporting a family,” Angel said.
Customers definitely won’t leave the restaurant hungry, either. The menu includes the Ramirez family’s favorite meals, along with many other dishes that are popular in Mexico.
The current top seller is the “Chuy’s Big California Burrito” a 12-inch flour tortilla stuffed with grilled chicken, steak, beans, rice, lettuce, shredded cheese, guacamole, and sour cream, topped with the restaurant’s “famous” cheese dip.
“It’s a very hearty burrito; it fills the whole plate,” commented Jesus, whose nickname is Chuy.
The menu also features several kinds of fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas, salads, steaks, appetizers, and seafood. There are also hamburgers, desserts, alcoholic beverages, and a kids’ menu.
The Ramirez family said they are grateful for the support they’ve received from the community, and they are enjoying getting to know their customers.
“My parents want the community to know that they’re in it for the long run,” Angel said. “They know they won’t be able to stay in business if they don’t get local support.”
The family is also trying to give back to the community whenever they can. This summer, for instance, they were a sponsor for Little League.
Maria’s Mexican Restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is closed Sundays. To learn more, call 320-543-2033 or follow the link at www.herald-journal.com.
Sept. 14 event
Maria’s Mexican Restaurant at 728 6th St. in Howard Lake is planning a free outdoor event from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14. There will be live music with traditional Mexican dancers, a taco eating contest, a jalapeño eating contest, and gift card giveaways.