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Tarahumara has new cantina

Greg and Gloria Grass, along with their son David Medina, own one of the most popular restaurants in Northern Utah: Tarahumara in Midway. Unfortunately, one of its best features was also becoming a curse.

Tarahumara is family friendly. It even has a house clown on Tuesday evenings in the summer who paints faces and ties balloon animals.

But hearing the laughter of children is not what everyone is looking for when they go out to dinner, Greg Grass said. For examples, while family business increased on Tuesdays, other clientele stayed away. He realized the restaurant needed a more mature atmosphere to cater to all his diners’ desires.

"We didn’t want to screw up our core business by meeting these other demands," he said.

Then the office space next to the restaurant at 380 East Main Street became open. The Grass family did a complete renovation and created a cantina for adult diners.

In addition to offering a full bar specializing in tequila, of course the cantina offers full-service dining. Even if people don’t drink, he knows that some prefer a quieter, more formal atmosphere for dining.

In the original restaurant, people order off a chalk board and pick it up when a number is called. The cantina has waiters with menus. The décor is modeled after the classiest cantinas Grass found northern Mexico.

The Mexican restaurant is named after an indigenous tribe in the Chihuahua province, where Gloria is from. The food is traditional from that part of the country, so the cantina had to be as well, he said.

The tequila selection is impressive, he added. Several varieties were special ordered through the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. If people come to the cantina to meet singles, he recommends the margarita made with damiana tequila liqueur. The leaves of the damiana bush are considered an aphrodisiac.

"Tequila is like Champaign in Northern Mexico," he said.

The cantina has been open since early spring and Grass is getting a great response. There is no difference in the quality of the food or the popular salsa bar although he has expanded his appetizer menu.

The cantina is simply an enhanced dining experience for adults. As its popularity grows he plans to further expand the tequila selection and develop a reputation for its variety.

He also has a full selection of beers, wines and other spirits for all tastes.

Tarahumara was closed last week to install a new kitchen, but reopened on Friday. It is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the summer.


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