La Cocina Mexicana, located at 907 W. Alabama, has been a Sweetwater staple for 30 years now and they want to show their appreciation to the community for their patronage. Today is the restaurant's 30th anniversary and they will be serving free cake to customers on Friday to help celebrate the occasion. They will also have special prices on two of their best selling menu items. The #1 Mexican Plate will be available for $5.95 and the #2 Combination Plate will be available for $6.95 on Friday. (No substitutions on either plate.)
Owner/operators Nester and Rosie Torres do all the cooking, using Rosie's grandmother's recipes, which have been passed down through the family. Rosie's children, Misty and Eddie, also work at the restaurant and have spent many hours in the kitchen learning the family's traditional recipes. Eight employees total work at La Cocina Mexicana. Nester has lived in Sweetwater all of her life and says that she loves doing business in her hometown. "It is just an honor to be in business in Sweetwater. I love Sweetwater and appreciate all of our customers who come into the restaurant."
Opened on Oct. 24, 1983, the restaurant originally served only breakfast burritos - mainly to go - but then some regular customers convinced Nester and Rosie to expand. The dining area was made larger, the menu was changed, and the restaurant has been serving up homestyle Mexican food such as enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, quesadillas, burritos - and much more - ever since. "We were the first restaurant to serve fajitas and carne guisada in Sweetwater," said Nester.
The restaurant's reputation reaches far and wide, with a four and a half star rating on the website TripAdvisor. "Our customers are what keeps me doing this," said Rosie. "I love our regular customers and I love meeting new people. It's so nice to see people still coming in after all these years. People that were children when they first started coming here are now bringing their children."
When asked her favorite dish, Rosie said, "My favorite is the fancy burrito, but I also love the fajita enchiladas."
When not working at La Cocina, Nester, Rosie, Misty and Eddie are very involved in church - Lighthouse Assembly of God, Immaculate Heart of Mary and Emmanuel Fellowship - and school activities - the Sweetwater Corral Booster Club and Highland Booster Club. The family is also involved with the American Cancer Society and took part in the Relay for Life on Oct. 12.
La Cocina, open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5-9 p.m., has won several Reader's Choice Awards throughout the years. Plaques and certificates line the walls, including Best Fajitas, Best Locally Owned Restaurant and Best Enchiladas. "We're thankful to God and our customers that we're still here after 30 years," said Rosie. "I hope we can make it another 30 years."