“THERE IS NO ONE FAVORITE,” claims Jose “Chuy” Salazar, co-owner of La Mesa. “We have something for everyone.”

That means those wanting enchiladas can get their favorite plate, while someone looking for a more unique dish can dive into a Mocajete which includes steak, chicken, chorizo, and shrimp in a spicy sauce with queso fresco and green onion and served in a lava bowl.

The restaurant started in 1993 as the dream of Founder Francisco Onate who wanted a place where families could come together. La Mesa in those days was a different place from what it is today. “The menu was simpler and more basic,” Salazar says.

Through the years, people’s tastes have changed and diversified, and La Mesa has evolved right along with them. Today, a diner can create their own combinations or choose from 18 specialty tacos. In addition to traditional Mexican fare, La Mesa offers an array of seafood specialties such as camarones al tequila (seasoned shrimp sauteed in chipolte sauce and flamed tequila) or mango fish (grilled tilapia).

“Our entrees have diversified over the years,” Salazar says. “The stuffed poblano pepper, pasta a la Mesa, and pollo a la crema are some of the newer favorites, and of course our enchiladas, burritos and fajitas are still very popular.”

The staff at La Mesa constantly keep up with their customers’ wants and needs. The current trend towards healthier eating is reflected in choices like black beans or steamed vegetables being available for those who do not want rice and refried beans.

Those who want to indulge in a bit of tequila will find no place better than La Mesa, with over 16 premium margaritas and 100 tequilas offered.These tequilas are of the highest quality, because Salazar understands how great tequila should taste. His family farms agave and Salazar himself once worked in a tequila distillery.

Customers also enjoy their tequila-tasting dinners. These are chef-created special events that La Mesa puts on two or three times a year. The food is specially paired with the tequila offerings for the night. It gives the chefs a chance to show off their culinary skills, and they do so proudly in order to bring the customers a special night out. The events also include special guests, such as tequila ambassadors, who are on hand to educate and inform.

No matter what someone wants, La Mesa works hard to give their customers, and their community, the best dining experience possible. “People are so busy these days,” Salazar says. “We try to make sure the time they do have together is special.”

The community has voted La Mesa as Best of Omaha 16 years in a row, and the staff at La Mesa are humbled and appreciative of this honor. That’s why they say “Muchas gracias!” to their customers, each and every day, for letting the restaurant be a part of the customers’ lives.

Six Metro Locations

Originally published in June 2019 issue of Omaha Magazine.

Photo Credit Omaha Magazine