By Kayla Lafi
As you walk through Campus Town, you might hear the faint sounds of Mexican music. Follow it, and it will lead you to the front door of the Mexican Mariachi Grill.
“The music is always playing because we want to create a comfortable and fun atmosphere,” said Eugenia Flores Ramos, co-owner of Mexican Mariachi Grill. “The music is both traditional Mariachi and more modern music, so it’s for everyone.”
Ramos and her husband, Ricardo, decided they wanted to take part in the American Dream and opened their first Mexican Mariachi Grill seven years ago in Ewing, N.J.
“We chose the name ‘Mexican Mariachi’ because Mariachi is about romance, love and remembrance,” Ramos read from one of the menus. “We want everyone to feel like family and to remember the tastes and smells.”
The Mexican Mariachi Grill is a family-owned and operated business with three locations in Mercer County, N.J. The Campus Town location is the first and only quick-serve style restaurant. Its prices and menu items cater specifically to the fast-paced, college lifestyle. The Campus Town location is open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays, but closes at 9 p.m. on Sundays.
“We came to Campus Town to bring the students delicious and authentic Mexican food,” Ramos said. “We want to be a part of the community.”
According to Ramos, the Campus Town location opened nearly a month and a half ago. Ramos and her husband are planning a grand-opening celebration for their third location.
The Mexican Mariachi menu features family recipes that were passed down from Ramos’s mother, who grew up in Saltillo, Mexico. Ramos, her husband and their son, Ricardo Jr., switch between all three locations, where they prepare and cook the food, while also managing the restaurant.
“Everything here is authentic, natural and fresh. We serve natural drinks and Mexican drinks (like) Horchata, Jamaica and Tamarindo,” Ramos said. “We have a woman that comes in during the lunch time to make fresh tortillas for the customers. We will soon be serving Mexican-style street corn-on-the-cob.”
The Mexican Mariachi Grill caters to the diverse needs and wants of its customers. There is something for everyone, including gluten-free and vegetarian options. Free tortilla chips and salsa are included with each meal.
“We prefer to do it fresh and cook at the moment, rather than make a lot of food at once and have it sit there,” Ramos said. “That’s important to us — that our customers know everything is freshly prepared on-site.”
Although the Mexican Mariachi Grill is family-owned and operated, its owners have hired some student employees to help out at the Campus Town location. Other employees, like Esteban Lopez, have been working with Ramos’s family since 2010 at their first location.
“I really enjoy this location because I get to practice my English by talking to the customers. I enjoy the fast-paced service,” Lopez said. “I think the response has been good so far from the area.”
When asked about the most popular item on the menu, both Lopez and Ramos answered with the burrito, which can also be made into a Chipotle-style burrito salad bowl. Lopez prefers his burritos with pork and jalapeño peppers, whereas Ramos sticks to the vegetarian calabacitas burrito, which includes zucchini, corn, onions and tomatoes.
“We do have jalapeños and habaneros for our customers who love spicy,” Ramos said. “We also have three different salsas: spicy, mild and volcano. Though our food is not spicy at taste, a customer can always ask for it.”
The response from the Campus Town and College community has been overwhelming positive.
“I love the guacamole from here because it’s so fresh,” sophomore accounting major Nicole Modafferi said. “Being that I am Mexican and it’s my favorite side dish, I am glad they know how to make it well.”