JEFFERSON — Guadalajara Grill opened up on Aug. 2 in Jefferson, but the business already is very familiar to many mid-Willamette Valley residents, as are its owners.
The Mexican restaurant had been on Commercial Street in Salem for 15 years before its lease wasn’t renewed this spring.
“Since we opened, we’re having customers come all the way from Keizer to see us. They became more than customers. They’re friends,” said Sonia Plascencia, who owns the business with her husband, Luis Montes.
About a decade ago, Guadalajara Grill also operated a satellite location out of the same space in Jefferson at 157 N. Second St.
“My brother had it for a couple of years,” Plascencia said. “For us, this is very special.”
Montes settled in Jefferson after moving to the United States from Mexico, and he met Plascencia while both were working for Harts Nursery.
“We used to live here in Jefferson. This town has been part of us. … This is my hometown,” Montes said.
The new space is only about a third of the size of their former storefront in Salem. But it allows them to keep alive the legacy of Plascencia’s brother Vicente Plascencia, who created the restaurant but was killed in a crash on Interstate 5 in 2015.
“My brother’s life was all about his business,” Plascencia said.
“This business was started by my brother with the support of the entire family. We wouldn’t have been able to continue this without the support of all our family and friends,” she said.
Plascencia said that the top-selling item at Guadalajara Grill is the carne asada plate, though vegetarian dishes also are on the menu.
The restaurant is also known for customer service, Plascencia added. “We like to treat people the way we like to be treated, like family,” she said.
And families can gather to watch sports on the televisions at the restaurant, including Beaver and Duck games, football and futbol.
The business has about 15 employees.
For now, Guadalajara Grill is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, but hours will soon change to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, call 541-327-2657.