New restaurant, old recipes

Some old Mexican family recipes have made their way to Grand Haven.
Marie Havenga
Sep 20, 2012


They're being used at Don Luis Mexican Bar & Grill, the new restaurant at 442 N. Beacon Blvd., near the Home Depot store.

Step into the 4,000-square-foot space once occupied by Cold Stone Creamery and Quizno's Subs and you might feel you've stepped south of the border. The colorful décor features chairs and tables handmade in Guadalajara. The custom-painted scenes portray buildings, landscapes and animals of Mexico. Wall-spanning murals in the two dining areas that seat 117 depict Mexican towns.

Owner Artemio Leon, who moved to the United States from Mexico 13 years ago, also owns the El Burrito Loco restaurant at 5916 Harvey St. in Fruitport Township, as well as five El Burrito locations in Grand Rapids and two in Big Rapids.

“We have secret ingredients,” said Leon, who started dishwashing at his uncle's Mexican restaurant in Meridian, Miss., when he was 16.

It was his uncle, Jesus Cuellar, who inspired the authentic Mexican food family tradition.

“My uncle started working for somebody else in Atlanta 50 or 60 years ago,” Leon said. “When he made enough money, he opened his own restaurant.”

The recipes for the homemade chips, salsa, fajitas, burritos, tacos, enchiladas and other specialties were all crafted by Cuellar — the same recipes used at Leon's El Burrito Loco eateries.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.




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