Mi Casita moves to Holtville

September 10, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer

HOLTVILLE — Mi Casita Restaurant recently opened in Holtville at the site of the former Ma Lupe's restaurant.

Owner Virginia Duran said that since moving her business to town she has come to realize the majority of her regular customers hail from the Carrot Capital city.

"No matter where I move," Duran said, "there are some special customers who follow me. That makes my heart full of joy."

Born in Brawley, Duran grew up in Mexico and has lived in El Centro since 1969. She learned to cook while caring for six younger brothers and sisters while her parents cooked at a labor camp. She operated Mi Casita in El Centro for 13 years at two different locations.


Duran takes pride that all her food is from "scratch."

"It is the old-fashioned ‘abuela' style. For our chili rellenos we cook and peel the chilies and stuff them. Many people used canned chilies," she said.

In addition to the customary Mexican fare, Mi Casita offers three different soups every day. Many Mexican food restaurants cease offering soup in the summer, Duran said.

She is also happy to oblige customers with special diet needs.

"Everyone told me I wouldn't make it starting out in the summer, usually a slow time," she said. "We have been busy every day."

Juan Heraz, the owner of Ma Lupe's, was a customer of Duran's when her business was in El Centro.

"I appreciate Juan giving me this opportunity to lease the building. I know it came from his heart to do this for me," she said.

"I just want people in Holtville to feel that when they come to Mi Casita they are coming to their own casita."

The operation is a family affair. She is assisted by her sisters Juana and Ana Maria, and three of her children: Irma, Daniella and Alex.

Mi Casita is at 625 Pine Ave., across from Holt Park. It is open Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and closed Sundays. The phone number is 356-2386.

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