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Garcia’s opening new restaurant in Pocatello

Business & Money

POCATELLO — After 34 years of success in Idaho Falls, Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant is answering calls from its patrons and expanding to Pocatello.

“We’ve had people from Pocatello coming up to our Idaho Falls restaurant for years,” Garcia’s owner Ken Despot said. “They’ve been clamoring for us to come down there.”

The new location is in the Costco parking lot on Yellowstone Avenue where Chili’s formerly operated. Tacos, nachos, burritos, Chile Relleno and drinks will begin being served later this spring when the restaurant is planning to open, Despot said. An exact date has not been set.

So how is Garcia’s in a position to expand while so many eateries are struggling to stay open? The answer to that, Despot said, lies in the trust Garcia’s has developed.

“People know we have great food. They know we’re clean and sanitary, and we have this big beautiful 9,000 square-foot restaurant (in Idaho Falls) where they can eat and be spread out.”

While the new location is around 6,000 square-feet, Despot told there is still plenty of room for sufficient social distancing – although he hopes by June social distancing concerns will be alleviated and families will be able to gather for a grand Mexican meal.

The original Garcia’s opened in Arizona by Julio and Olivia Garcia in 1956. The Pocatello location, like the Idaho Falls and others in the chain, will keep the same family recipes. In fact, Despot said, everything will be the same. The offerings, recipes and especially the processes by which the end result is reached — that, he said, is what makes Garcia’s different from other Mexican eateries in Idaho.

“Everything is fresh. We make everything fresh at 8 a.m. every morning — three different salsas, all of our beans, our guacamole, everything is made fresh daily,” he explained.

In addition to recipes and traditions brought from Arizona to Pocatello by way of Idaho Falls, the new Garcia’s will feature a full bar.

“That way you can get a margarita with your dinner,” Despot said.

Garcia’s menu is steeped in the tradition of Sonora, the region in Mexico that borders Arizona. Sonoran food is known for thin tortillas, fresh vegetables, Monterrey Jack cheese and lots of beef. This style of cuisine has been adopted under the Americanized umbrella of Mexican food known for its more Baja roots.

“Our style is Sonoran. People might call it Tex-Mex, and we’re OK with that because we know what we do here and we know that people love it,” Despot said.

The restaurant staff will work under husband-wife general manager team Brett and Amanda Rasmussen, who are set to begin in April.

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