Biz Buzz: Local Mexican restaurant celebrating 2 years of business amid COVID-19, other challenges
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Do you want to know what’s happening in the eastern Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.
Mexican buffet in Idaho Falls marks second anniversary after turbulent year
IDAHO FALLS – The desire for a piece of the American Dream is what drove Angelica Resendiz Gonsalez to open a Mexican restaurant in Idaho Falls nearly two years ago.
La fonda Mexican Buffet opened at 1635 South Woodruff Avenue next to Gandolfo’s in March 2019. It’s a family-owned business, operated by Angelica and her husband, Arturo Hernandez, three daughters, Leslie, Rosio and Dani Trejo and a son, Angel Hernandez.
“A lot of people have been liking it,” Leslie Trejo tells EastIdahoNews.com. “When COVID hit, (business went down slightly) because it is a buffet and people didn’t really want to (come) so we came up with $1 tacos all day every day.”
The buffet is just starting to pick up again, Leslie says. Gloves and hand sanitizer have been made available to customers who come in.
COVID-19 hasn’t been the only challenge facing the business. In May, Arturo was diagnosed with cancer in his kidney. The infected kidney was removed during surgery. Leslie says he’s doing well, but his recovery has made him less involved in the restaurant.
“His body has been getting used to (having just one kidney),” she says. “Since (the surgery), he’s been having high blood pressure and doctors check on him constantly to make sure (the cancer) doesn’t spread.”
Despite these challenges, Leslie says members of the community have stepped up to support them. One group recently helped raise $4,500 to go towards Arturo’s hospital expenses. Leslie says they’re grateful for the community’s love and support for their family.
La fonda Mexican Buffet offers a menu of authentic southern Mexican food made from scratch daily, according to Leslie. The rotating menu includes items like chicharron or fried pork belly. Other items include manual de pozole, a traditional Mexican soup or stew and chilaquiles, which are a breakfast enchilada served with fried corn tortillas, chicken, salsa, eggs, cheese and refried beans.
Angelica grew up near Mexico City and moved to Idaho Falls in 1995. She later met Arturo and got a job working in various restaurants over the years. After 19 years, she decided to go into business for herself and that’s what prompted her to open La fonda Mexican Buffet.
The pandemic prevents the restaurant from having a celebration to mark the restaurant’s two-year anniversary, but Leslie says they’d like to do something special to mark the occasion.
“We’re not too sure what we might do. We might do a special at the buffet, but we’re still trying to see because we can’t have too many people,” says Leslie.
Angelica recently started offering desserts and she’s looking forward to expanding those items over the next several months.
“Come and give us a try. Sometimes people are a little (unsure) about it, but then they try it and they see it’s actual authentic food,” Leslie says. “We try to keep it as authentic as we can.”
La fonda Mexican Buffet is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Visit the Facebook page for more information.
What you need to know for the upcoming tax season
BOISE – The Idaho State Tax Commission starts processing 2020 Idaho individual income tax returns on Friday, February 12. The Internal Revenue Service begins processing federal returns the same day. All Idaho tax returns go through fraud-detection reviews and accuracy checks. Before issuing your refund, the Tax Commission may ask you to verify your identity or that you filed a return. The agency also might ask you to provide more information. E-filing your return is the safest and easiest way to file. It’s also the quickest way to receive a refund. Using direct deposit for your refund gets the money to you even faster. E-filers will receive their refunds starting in March. It takes seven to eight weeks to get a refund when you e-file versus 10 to 11 weeks when filing by paper. If you owe taxes, you can pay them online using the free Quick Pay service. It’s a great option if you want to spread out payments for your income taxes between now and the April 15 due date. Some e-file providers also offer a direct debit payment option.
Check your refund status or find tax help right here. You also can get help by calling (208) 334-7660 in the Boise area or toll free at (800) 972-7660. To find a Tax Commission office near you, go online.
The deadline to file 2020 income taxes is Thursday, April 15.
Committe in Idaho Falls invites your feedback in new survey
IDAHO FALLS – The Diversity & Inclusion Subcommittee of Idaho Falls Connecting Us, Sustaining Progress has published an online survey to enable residents to shape the final CUSP recommendations. The survey will aim to measure resident sentiment about the current quality of life and proposed policy ideas, identify how sentiments align or differ between residents based on age, race, color, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, and gender expression/identity, invite Idaho Falls residents to submit ideas and recommendations for further study. Residents are encouraged to make their voice heard. The survey will be open to responses from all residents until Feb. 13.
Local man promoted to general manager at Fall River Electric
ASHTON – After conducting a nationwide search to find a replacement for retiring General Manager JT Hill, Fall River Propane’s Board of Directors has announced the selection of east Idaho native David McKinnon to head the 20-year-old propane business. McKinnon grew up west of Blackfoot farming and ranching with his family. He most recently spent 25 years in the propane business and has been the Idaho Director for the National Propane Gas Association. McKinnon is married to the former Joy Bolander originally of Firth and together they have eight children and 15 grandchildren. He enjoys a wide variety of outdoor activities, including camping, fishing, and backpacking. McKinnon is an active gardener, Dutch oven cooker, sourdough bread maker and enjoys playing basketball and baseball.