NORTH LIBERTY– Not all Mexican restaurants are alike, and not all are truly authentic in flavor and atmosphere, according to Jasmine Ortiz, one of the friendly faces you’ll encounter at Los Jimadores Authentic Mexican Restaurant in North Liberty.
Ortiz defined authentic as homemade encompasses a wider variety of menu offerings with a different taste and seasonings than found in more conventional restaurants.
“It’s like Mama would make,” Ortiz said.
Already established in the Illinois cities of Peoria, Princeville and Washburn, North Liberty marks the first venture into an Iowa market for the family-owned restaurant chain of Los Jimadores. Cousins Juan Vazquez, Ivan Almendarez, Eduardo Ortiz-Mejia and Jose Vazquez own and operate Los Jimadores in North Liberty. The location at 40 Sugar Creek Ln. has been completely remodeled inside for a distinctly Mexican look with bold colors, stucco arches and traditional décor.
The menu is what separates Los Jimadores from the others. With recipes and cooking skills handed down through the families, including “Grandpa’s secret,” Juan Vazquez joked, the traditional way of preparing food. A heavy emphasis is placed on freshness and making food from scratch; no opening a can of Mexican sauce or opening a jar of salsa here. Instead, the staff makes their own sauces, their own salsa (in mild and hot variations) as well as their own tortilla chips.
While they have standard fare such as tacos and enchiladas, it’s what they put in them that customers will find different. Chorizo, a Mexican sausage, is a featured ingredient, while crab meat enchiladas are a specialty, consisting of two enchiladas topped with Los Jimadores’ special enchilada sauce, cheese, lettuce, tomato and sour cream. Then there are the tacos Guanajuato: chorizo, steak, grilled onion, Pico de Gallo and salsa served with rice and beans. They also make a seafood burrito and seafood chimichangas as well.
Los Jimadores has daily $3.99 lunch specials and dinner specials ranging from free kids’ meals (with an adult meal) on Monday to $.99 tacos on Tuesday, $2 bottles of domestic beer on Wednesday and half-price margaritas on the rocks for Thursday. On Friday, $6.50 will get you a 27 oz. Margarita to quench the thirst of an Iowa summer while Saturday’s special is Mexican beer for $2. All margaritas on the rocks are half-price on Sundays as well.
If you’d like to catch the big game while enjoying your meal, the casual dining restaurant features two large flat screen TVs in the dining room with another above the well-stocked bar. Carry-out is available as is catering. Los Jimadores takes reservations requests for large groups.