MIDDLETOWN — New Mexican restaurant La Casa Mania opened last weekend and brought authentic Mexican street food to downtown Middletown. Customers can enjoy birria tacos, elote, nachos, quesadillas, and more when grabbing a bite at the eatery.
The restaurant was opened by the owners of the iconic Meriden food truck, Noely and Antonio Salazar, and their partners Karla Guzman and Miguel Angel Oropeza Sanchez.
Last summer, the Salazars were thinking of opening a second food truck, but then decided it was time for their bright orange truck to have a new home. This prompted the name La Casa Mania.
“When we decided it was time, I called [Miguel] and asked if he knew anyone who would be interested in running a restaurant with us,” Antonio Salazar said. “Then he said he was interested and everything just happened from there.”
Sanchez and Antonio Salazar met at a food truck festival years ago. At the time, Sanchez was working for another Mexican food truck. Eventually, the two became friends and now consider themselves a family.
Sanchez has had the dream of opening his own restaurant since he was 15 years old working as a dishwasher at a restaurant.
“When times would get tough, I would just think to myself ‘One day you’re going to open your own restaurant,’ and now it’s happening,” Sanchez said.
Right now, the restaurant has their liquor permit, but is hoping to have their license by the beginning of June. Oropeza knows how to bartend and the others hope to learn.
The theme of the restaurant is based around the traditional Mexican card game Lotería. The game is often called “Mexican bingo” and uses cards with pictures to decide which spaces are going to be filled. The game is a staple of Mexican-American childhood and the restaurant wants to have special theme nights such as Lotería game night.
Like in Lotería, renovating a restaurant often has moments of good and bad luck. Unexpected renovations took place throughout the last year.
“There were moments where we would just cry,” Noely Salazar said. “But that is part of opening your business, you have to be prepared for the unexpected and learn to handle it.”
In addition to their traditional menu, La Casa Mania decided to add appetizers where buffalo, barbecue, and mango habanero wings will be served.
For information on La Casa Mania’s hours, Salazar said customers can check the restaurant’s Instagram page @lacasamania.