For the huevos rancheros recipe, click here.
As the work day begins, cooks crowd into the small kitchen in the back of the historic building on the downtown square in Gainesville.
Not long after the stoves have been turned on, the restaurant begins to fill with the smells of the fried eggs, refried beans and spicy salsa. A few moments later, a hearty plate of huevos rancheros is brought out and placed on the table.
The traditional Mexican meal is a great way to start the day but can become a small celebration when enjoyed on a holiday.
Cinco de Mayo falls on Monday. The holiday commemorates the Mexican victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
“Cinco de Mayo is bigger than Independence Day,” Marcelino Carrillo said of the annual Mexican celebration.
Carrillo is a native of Puebla, Mexico, and is a co-owner of Avocados Restaurant.
“Traditionally, it’s a big day,” he said. “When we celebrate Cinco de Mayo, it’s a big day. Nobody works. Nobody has school.”
The day generally involves eating traditional Mexican foods, drinking and watching parades, Carrillo said, smiling.
In the U.S. the holiday is observed by many and often involves eating and drinking traditional Mexican fare.
Albert Lunalover, co-owner of Avocados, said huevos rancheros is a popular breakfast item at the restaurant.
The meal is made from two fried eggs placed on heated corn tortillas. The eggs — or huevos — are topped with salsa and cheese and served with refried beans and Mexican rice.
In addition to regular lunch and dinner menus, the restaurant offers breakfast at 8 a.m. on Thursday and Friday and has a brunch menu on Sundays.
The huevos rancheros at Avocados are unique since they are topped with a green salsa and feta cheese.
“I think the feta is a good complement to the eggs,” Lunalover said.
The green salsa is made by blending jalapenos, tomatillos, garlic and cilantro, giving the dish a special kick.
When making meals such as huevos rancheros at home, small tweaks to the recipe can make it more personalized. Home cooks may cook their eggs hard or runny. If consumers are not a fan of spicy jalapenos, then substitute a pepper with less heat.
Lunalover said the restaurant strives to work with customers to come up with menu items that fit a variety of dietary needs and lifestyles, such as vegans, vegetarians and low-carbohydrate diets. He said he and other staff are working on several lighter, healthier menu items to accommodate customers’ requests.
In addition to food, the restaurant displays works created by local artists.
Lunalover said to him owning the restaurant isn’t as much about making money as it is about serving good food in an inviting atmosphere.
“I’m trying to bring some culture into Gainesville, instead of the chain (restaurants),” Lunalover said.