Students enjoy authenticity at ‘Guads’

Vanessa Marcano

Vanessa Marcano

The crisp sounds of trumpets accompanied by animated Latin American vocals; the engulfing aroma of cilantro, fresh tomatoes and assorted piquant spices; the colorful sombreros, photographs and the quintessential piñatas hanging from the ceiling and a silent greeting from what could be the largest goldfish in the state. Take it all in and prepare your senses. ¡Bienvenido a Guadalajara!

It was in 1997 that Carlos and Esther Vega opened their first Guadalajara restaurant in Watertown, S.D., after hearing there was a market for Mexican restaurants in South Dakota. One year later, Brookings palates received their fair access to the various flavors hailing from the ancient Aztec empire south of the border. The Vegas came all the way from San Isidro Mazatepec, a tiny town with less than 4,000 people in the central-western state of Jalisco, Mexico. The name Guadalajara refers to Jalisco’s capital city, the second most populous metro area in Mexico.

Guadalajara’s atmosphere is quaint and lively; its walls are full of pieces of Mexican nostalgia, from the classic sombreros usually worn by charros, the Mexican version of cowboys, colorful hand-woven mats, to clay pots and a wooden Aztec mosaic. After sitting down, a server will not hesitate to welcome you with a basket full of warm tortilla chips and daily fresh-made salsa, with that spicy kick that will certainly keep you wanting more.

More than three pages in Guadalajara’s menu guarantee that even the most demanding eater could find something to quell his or her hunger. Gregorio Gutiérrez, manager at Guadalajara, said the menu strives to achieve a perfect fusion between genuine Mexican fare and American flavors.

For seven years, Chef Esteban Arroyo has been in charge of making the magic happen at Guadalajara