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Biz Buzz: Local Mexican restaurant gearing up for 30th anniversary

Biz Buzz

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.



Restaurant owners grateful for customers support after difficult year

yessi puerto vallarta
Yessi Puerto Vallarta at 2670 East Sunnyside Road in Ammon. | Maria Hernandez

AMMON – Like many other restaurant owners in eastern Idaho, it’s been a turbulent year for Maria Hernandez and her family.

Trying to run and manage Yessi Puerto Vallarta through the COVID-19 pandemic has had its challenges, but the thing that’s had the most lasting impact on her is the death of her daughter, Yesenia, or “Yessi,” as she was known to friends and family.

In February 2020, before there was any talk of a stay-home order or a shutdown, the wife and mother of three was fighting for her life at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Yessi had been diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma six months earlier. She’d been fighting the illness with chemotherapy before getting the flu around Christmastime, which weakened her even more and ultimately lead to her passing.

RELATED | Owner of local Mexican restaurant dies days before her 32nd birthday

Yessi Hernandez
Yesenia ‘Yessi’ Hernandez. | Facebook

As Maria reflects on the last year, she tells as she chokes back tears, “It’s been very, very hard … but life doesn’t stop. Just keeping the restaurant open helps a little bit, like she’s still here with us.”

Maria says they’ve felt Yessi’s presence on several occasions as the family has worked to keep the restaurant running over the last year.

They moved from their old location at 340 East Anderson last August to a building in Sandcreek Commons at 2670 East Sunnyside Road in Ammon. One of the silver linings for them has been the overwhelming amount of love and support from the community.

RELATED | Popular Mexican restaurant opening new location in honor of their deceased daughter

“The community’s been very, very nice. All of our old customers coming back have been with us for 20 years, and they’re coming back and supporting us,” she says. “Sometimes changes are good in life, and I think we’re headed in a good direction right now.”

Puerto Vallarta is celebrating its 30th anniversary next month and as Maria prepares for that milestone, she remembers what brought them here in the first place.

It all began with a trip to Idaho Falls many years ago while on vacation. What stood out to them at the time was that it was a small, quiet town with a low cost of living.

“It has grown a lot, but it was a nice little town to live in and raise a family. Our kids were little back then, and we decided to call this our home,” Maria recalls.

In 1991, they packed up their belongings and moved from Seattle to establish roots in Idaho Falls. Once they settled down, they noticed there weren’t many Mexican restaurants in town and they decided to open one.

They had no idea at the time it would still be in business 30 years later.

“As my daughter grew up and had a family of her own, she wanted to make a living, and she really liked the restaurant. We planned for her to take over the business once we were done working, and that’s why she got involved,” Maria says.

Maria says it’s an honor to continue the family business with Yessi’s husband and brother-in-law.

As the business has grown over the years, Maria says it’s been rewarding to watch customers return year after year and to be able to have lasting connections with them.

“A lot of our customers are like family,” she says. “We have a lot of customers that have been with us for a long, long time. It’s rewarding to keep in touch with them, and when they come back, hear how good the food is.”

They’ll be celebrating the restaurant’s 30th anniversary on Aug. 28 with free tacos, soda and beer for the community. They’re grateful for all the support they’ve received over the years and are inviting you to come and celebrate with them.

Puerto Vallarta is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday with a 9 p.m. closing time Friday and Saturday. Visit the Facebook page for more information.



New business takes all the hard work out of stump removal

IDAHO FALLS – Doing yard work is a common summertime activity for many people in eastern Idaho, and one dilemma many homeowners face is knowing how to remove old tree stumps from their property.

To remedy this problem, Idaho Falls resident Seth Harris opened Ultimate Stump Grinding, a tree stump removal and cleanup business, in May.

Though there is a variety of businesses that remove tree stumps in the area, Harris tells his business is the only one devoted specifically to tree stump removal, and the method he uses is designed to take all the hard work out of it.



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