‘We knew it would be tough but the thought of meeting the needs of our new found customers and a desire to introduce authentic Mexican food to Ghanaians urged us on’ – Ayo looks at me with determined eyes as she tells me how she and her husband, Nii Laryea began operating the La Cocina Mexicana restaurant at East Legon.
The couple, lovers of Mexican food, has for years been thinking of how to keep sharing those delicious spicy meals with family and friends, but still make some money – in a covid era! ‘It’s the passion. It’s more of making sure that we give our customers the best and our food is very affordable though it’s very cost-effective.
This resulted in a search for a Mexican chef or most probably, a chef who could combine the chilies, herbs, spices, beans, grated cheese or fried onions into unforgettable meal time experiences.
And o they found a Mexican Chef in Accra. Authuros! Ayo says, he was ready to turn on the gas, fill the thin flatbread tortillas with different ingredients so clients could have options of choosing either minced beef and cheese filled burritos, beans and spices filled tacos or diced green chilies and shredded chicken filled enchiladas.
Then the kitchen was set. The waiting area was set- o yes! Waiting area because according to Ayo ‘ the idea was just to have a takeout food’. ‘ It was during the covid era, we were so sure that would do, but our customers wanted to seat so we had to go back to the drawing board and think of what to do so that customers can come in and have a cozy environment and enjoy the flavors as well.’’
And so the waiting area was turned to a seating area. Paintings of food ingredients and traditionally dressed Mexicans in their straw hat or sombrero on the walls welcomed guests with open arms and broad smiles. I particularly loved the opened-teeth man playing the guitar.
On a sunny day in December 2020 amidst strict compliance to all covid-19 safety protocols, La Cocina Mexicana- restaurant opened its doors for customers to dine in, on tables draped in multicolored patterns of reds, blues, and yellows sarape table clothes.
As I kept asking Ayo questions for my story, I tapped my feet to the genres of Mexican tunes playing in the background by Adam the bartender who would end up serving me ground beef and diced tomatoes burritos with chili sauce.
She was very particular about the enforcement of covid-19 safety protocols ‘we don’t take in 15 people at a goal. So if you haven’t made reservations and you come here when the 15 seats are filled, we encourage you to take out because we need to space out.’ Ayo also told me the staff goes through periodic testing and spraying is done at the premises on a regular basis.
Asked if the restaurant is making a profit, Ayo hopefully said ‘It’s a relatively new business; right now we are testing the market, so far so good. There are lots of prospects.’
Ok! now I must bite my freshly made burritos so join me here at the La Cocina Mexicana. I promise to order for you some tortilla dipped in chile sauce, filled with meat or cheese, and all rolled up! Come over!
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