Uziel Ortega and Victor Ramirez man the kitchen while Amanda Ramirez greets incoming guests. It’s a busy time for the partners of Lewisburg’s Mi Tequila Mexican restaurant.
The level of responsibility is much higher than it was when they worked at another local restaurant, but they say it’s those years of experience that taught them all they needed to know to start their own business.
“We just wanted to bring that experience to our own place,” explained Ortega. “We try to make everything the best. We are the ones cooking, even as the owners of the restaurant. We are always here to try to make sure the business is a success.”
That experience, combined with unique recipes passed down from relatives in Mexico, seems to be giving the restaurant a great start.
“It’s authentic Mexican cuisine,” said Ortega. “We have family in Mexico and many of the recipes come straight from there.”
Ortega came from Mexico himself 20 years ago and has been working in the restaurant industry ever since. Likewise, Victor Ramirez has been in Lewisburg about 15 years, which is how he came to meet his wife. Amanda, born and raised in Lewisburg, says the chance to open a restaurant in her hometown was one she couldn’t pass up.
“We wanted to keep it local,” she said. “I’m from here and I’ve been here and now we have this family-owned business. The community has really welcomed us. People say they’re glad we are here in this part of town.”
Located in northern Lewisburg, the restaurant is bright, yet cozy. With red, yellow and green walls and painted murals, Mi Tequila has a 40-person capacity. Although they’ve worked hard on the décor, the owners say their secret to success is a tie between the food and the service.
“We care about the food,” Ortega said. “We care about how we are cooking the food, what we’re serving them and how we’re serving it.”
At Mi Tequila, the servers’ first trip to the table is accompanied by chips and chunky salsa.
“It’s a little spicy,” Amanda said, “but not too much. It’s really good.”
And it pairs well with some of their other favorites, like the Big Daddy Burrito or the Pollo Con Crema, which is a special sauce made with Mexican spices served over grilled chicken. They also serve it over shrimp.
Victor’s favorite is the shrimp chimichanga, but Amanda’s go-to is the Pollo Hawaiian.
“It’s chicken with ham, cheese and pineapple,” she said. “But everything’s really good. We put a personal touch on the food. We care about what we’re putting out.”
Equally important, Ortega says, is how they’re serving it.
“We encourage our team to do their best,” he said, “to be knowledgeable about the food but also friendly and courteous.”
The owners say business has been steady since opening in October, but they’re still hoping to get the word out.
“We are a small, local business,” said Amanda. “We aren’t a chain and don’t have any other restaurants. Just this one. So, we hope people will come out. We need all the support from the community we can get.”
Mi Tequila is at 2969 Jefferson St. N. in Lewisburg. It’s open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. To learn more, call 304-647-3414 or find Mi Tequila Mexican Restaurant on Facebook.