After 24 years, La Fiesta Grande is still going strong.
The day before Derby Day in 1994, La Fiesta Grande opened its doors. With carpet flooring, pink booths and plain tables and chairs, it did not look anything like the brightly colored restaurant that is there now.
All of the tables and chairs in La Fiesta Grande are handmade and painted. They are painted with carvings of Mexican villages, suns and other traditional symbols. The walls and booths are also painted the same way.
Elpidio Escobar, the owner of La Fiesta Grande, said the ambiance in the restaurant is designed to make people feel like they are in Mexico. The colors are the same shades that one would see decorating a house in Mexico.
While sitting in Frankfort’s version of Mexico, most customers enjoy flavorful fajitas or quesadillas with a margarita. La Fiesta Grande always serves fresh meat. Everyday, the meat is sliced, prepared and marinated to be served the next day. The quesadillas are made with 100 percent Mexican white cheese.
Escobar said their preparation process ensures that customers get moist meat filled with flavor.
Flavor is what sets La Fiesta Grande apart from other Mexican restaurants in town, Escobar said.
The Jalapeño Margarita also makes La Fiesta Grande stand out. The drink combines sweet and heat. A mix of traditional margarita ingredients plus orange juice and jalapeños, gives the classic margarita a kick.
Although Escobar said the margarita is one of the most popular drinks at La Fiesta Grande, his primary focus is on the food. It is more important to him that he runs a family restaurant.
Unlike franchises, La Fiesta Grande makes a point to create an environment where families can gather and connect. They allow customers time to dine at a leisurely pace, instead of rushing them to pay their bill and get out the door. Sometimes customers will linger at their table after their meal is done, catching up with family and friends. Some customers have been eating at the restaurant for more than 20 years. For them, it feels like home.
The focus on family is evident at the restaurant, in part because many members of Escobar’s family work at the restaurant, including his daughters, wife, brother-in-law and nephews.
Camarones con Salsa Chipotle
For a slightly spicy meal, try the Camarones con Salsa Chipotle, or Chipotle Shrimp. The meal is best served with rice and a salad. At La Fiesta Grande, the salad consists of lettuce, tomato, avocado and shredded cheeses. The camarones are filled with flavor. For a little more heat, serve with the Jalapeño Margarita.
9 Jumbo Shrimp
Mix chipotle sauce, shredded cheese and heavy cream, to taste. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook turning often. Remove the shrimp and place in a bow. Add chipotle, cheese and heavy cream mixture to taste. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the shrimp. Stir gently. Cover and let sit until the shrimp are opaque and cooked through, about 2-4 minutes. Enjoy!
La Fiesta Grande’s Jalapeño Margarita offers sweet with a little heat. For a delicious twist to the classic margarita, La Fiesta Grande adds jalapeños. If you like tequila and spicy food, this is the drink for you.
1 ½ oz Tequila Jimador
1 oz Triple Sec
2 oz Margarita Mix
1 oz Sour Mix
½ Grand Marnier
3 slices jalapeño
Rub a lime wedge around the rim of a glass. Dip the rim in salt. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the ingredients and shake. Strain the margarita into the glass. Garnish with a jalapeño and a lime.