Norma Zaragoza, owner of Los Cuates Mexican Taqueria & Restaurant, whips up a fresh batch of horchata every morning, preps the kitchen and eagerly awaits her customers.
Since opening her first restaurant on Nov. 27 in Flowery Branch, Zaragoza has taken every opportunity to share her passion for food with the community.
“I put my love, my time and everything into this place,” she said. “My English isn’t very good, but I’ll speak with everybody and ask them how they’re doing.”
Zaragoza said her husband was the No. 1 inspiration behind opening the restaurant. As a big fan of her cooking, he encouraged her to expand her kitchen to the community.
Her second reason for starting the business sparked from a desire to bring more authentic Mexican cuisine to Hall County.
“A lot of the food in different restaurants isn’t real Mexican food,” Zaragoza said. “I decided to serve real Mexican and Tex-Mex too.”
Before settling in Hall 15 years ago, Zaragoza lived in Monterrey, Mexico. Many of the dishes served at Los Cuates are popular in her hometown, including the burrito regio — which includes slow-cooked beef and red sauce — and a burger filled with pastor (pork), a thin patty, lettuce, cheese and ham.
Sergio Florens, the restaurant’s general manager, said he took a trip to Monterrey to try a traditional burrito regio.
“She’s spot on with the ingredients,” Florens said.
Instead of buying tortillas in bulk, Florens has dedicated a cook to hand-making corn flour tortillas throughout the day. Customers can choose to fill their tortillas with grilled chicken, chorizo, beef and other taco ingredients.
The restaurant keeps a large menu packed with dishes ranging from $5 to $20. Los Cuates also offers a $8.99 per-person buffet with a rotating lineup of authentic Mexican food and Tex-Mex cuisine.
Florens said Los Cuates’ main goal is to serve the community and maintain a family-friendly atmosphere.
Florens is a father of four and Zaragoza is a mother of seven.
Zaragoza said she named the restaurant “Los Cuates,” in honor of her 8-year-old twins.
“They’re fraternal twins and in Mexico, they’re called los cuates,” she said. “The two chiles on our sign represent them.”
Florens said if people remember one thing about Los Cuates, he hopes they notice the family-friendly atmosphere.
“Our main goal is to serve the community around here and also let people know that we’re focused on being a family-based restaurant,” Florens said.
Zaragoza is in the process of expanding the restaurant’s space into the room next door. Once finished, the current 113-person space will increase by 70 extra seats.
For now, Florens said Los Cuates is ready to cater to the community.
“Any suggestions or any way customers think we can change the food, let us know,” he said.
Los Cuates is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday. People can find it in the Kroger shopping center at 4925 Winder Highway in Flowery Branch.
For more information, call 470-290-8815.