TODAY'S WEATHER
Idaho Falls
51°
clear sky
humidity: 75%
wind: 6mph NNW
H 55 • L 53

East Idaho Eats: Senor Iguana’s is Pocatello’s home for evolved favorites from central Mexico

East Idaho Eats

Share This

POCATELLO — In order for a restaurant to survive 20-plus years and a global health pandemic, it has to be able to adapt to the times.

Since 1997, Senor Iguana’s has had a home in Pocatello, serving favorites from the central region of Mexico. But things now are not how they started nearly a quarter-century ago.

The evolution of this grill and cantina was made much easier by the fact that the owner and head chef are the same person — Caleb Corona.

“We come from more central Mexico,” Corona told me. “We went way traditional when we first opened, and it was really hard on our business. I had to learn to change it up a bit — a lot of it was just adding our own twist to stuff.”

Corona started his business with the dreams of bringing the traditional flavors of his former home to his adopted home. He learned quickly that while people love the base of flavors in Mexican cuisine, his food needed to embrace its branches as much as its roots.

So he started shifting the menu to meet the collective palate of Pocatello.

“Generally, when you first open a business, you don’t have everything right, you don’t have everything set in stone,” he said. “The public usually helps you direct yourself in the right direction, as long as you’re willing to listen.”

Screen Shot 2021 05 21 at 5.19.03 PM

“It’s just about trying to find your own place in the market, in the food market,” he said. “That’s what we try to do: change things up a little bit to get something people really want.”

Patrons will still find tradition in Senor Iguana’s menu.

Order tacos, for example, and you will get the classic ‘street tacos’ — without the contemporary American sour cream, guacamole and shredded lettuce.

Corona also offers fresh salsa and guacamole made in-house daily, to go with the chips handled the same way.

“For those people who like it a little hotter,” Corona recommends the ‘Loco Sauce,’ one of two housemade specialty sauces. Alongside the tamer ‘Iguana Sauce,’ ‘Loco Sauce’ offers the spice Corona, for the most part, leaves out of his cooking.

What makes the ‘Loco Sauce’ special is its base. Chiltepin Peppers, a pepper that is not yet harvested en masse and grows wild in villages near the Sierra Mountains, is the building block.

“For people who like it hot and spicy, we definitely have that for them,” he said. “We’ve never had anyone complain that it’s not hot enough.

“I thought it would be something neat to bring in. It’s got a really good bite, but it also has a really good flavor to it, a very natural smoky flavor.”

Along with the tacos, which EastIdahoNews.com tried with the ‘Loco Sauce,’ Corona offered us the Chile Verde Burrito — which comes with an eight-inch or 12-inch option. The pork inside was tender, and the sauce was delicious.

burrito

One of the faces you will see upon entering Senor Iguanas, near the intersection of Hiline Road and Alameda Road, is that of Corona’s daughter, Kylee. Her name can also be found on the menu, offering her own recommendations for children. But that is just another example of Senor Iguanas’ staying power — that section of the menu was created when Kylee was just 12.

Now 22, her recommendations have changed. Kylee, responsible for the Chile Rellenos and most of the desserts, now recommends patrons try the rellenos.

Senor Iguanas is open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and is closed on Sunday and Monday. You can also order for delivery through Delivery.com. The restaurant’s full menu can be viewed on their Facebook page.

Along with his delicious food, Corona is proud of the service his tight-knit staff provides to any and all who walk through the door.

“When you come to Senor Iguanas, you’re going to get good, friendly service — everyone’s going to work really hard for you.”

Visit Senor Iguana’s online here.

If you want to make a recommendation for the next destination to be included on East Idaho Eats, email Kalama@EastIdahoNews.com and include “EATS” in the subject line.

SUBMIT A CORRECTION