CANYON CITY — Owning a taqueria-style restaurant was once just a “pipe dream” for Bill and Maria Evans, but since Nov. 10 the dream became a reality.
The couple moved their Mexican restaurant, Maria’s, from Prairie City to their new location in Canyon City at 295 S. Canyon City Blvd., opening exactly two years after their original restaurant.
“Taqueria-style” means orders are taken at the counter, and at Maria’s, the food options are displayed on a digital menu board.
“It’s more efficient, and service is quicker,” Bill said.
The family restaurant sports bright colors with an ocean-view mural on one of the walls.
“Everybody is having fun and enjoying themselves,” Bill said. “It’s a family restaurant with a festive atmosphere. Everyone seems to like the brightness of it.”
The building was previously the location of the Golden Dragon restaurant, operated by Steve and Janet Pang who retired last summer.
Bill said business has been good with repeat customers, and added the residents of Canyon City have been hospitable.
“We feel very welcomed,” he said.
They hope to open a margarita lounge, at the back of the restaurant, by ’62 Days celebration in June.
“That’s our goal,” Bill said. “It would be a nice place to sit and enjoy cocktails, and could also be a place for business.”
Bill and Maria said their customers’ favorites have remained the same: chili rellenos, fajitas, tacos, enchiladas and burritos.
They also offer Taco Tuesday with chicken, pork and beef tacos at a sale price.
Chef Maria uses the authentic recipes she learned from her mother. Her favorite Mexican meal is fajitas, she said.
She said she’s enjoying the new location for several reasons, including its closeness to home — she and Bill and their son Gabriel live in the Canyon City area — and the brightness of the restaurant.
“I feel good in this new setting,” she said.
She said she never thought of herself as a great cook — it was just regular cooking to her — until her husband pointed out how delicious her meals taste.
“I’m so happy to see the new customers,” she said.
Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
For more information, call the restaurant at 541-575-0777.