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East Idaho Eats: The wait is over for Garcia’s in Pocatello

East Idaho Eats

POCATELLO — Fans of Garcia’s Mexican restaurant have finally had their requests answered.

For years, residents of Pocatello have trekked 45 minutes to an hour up to Idaho Falls to enjoy Garcia’s take on Mexican food. Now, they have a Garcia’s in town.

“The request has been so much, for another location in Idaho, so we brought it down here to Pocatello,” Pocatello Garcia’s general manager Brett Rasmussen told in the video above. “We’re grateful to be here, in Pocatello, to support the community with a restaurant and to try to build something that is a legacy restaurant, like the Idaho Falls store is.”

Frozen margaritas from Garcia's in Pocatello
Frozen margaritas at Garcia’s in Pocatello. | Kalama Hines,

Pocatello’s newest Mexican eatery is located in the Costco parking lot along Yellowstone Avenue — in the building that up until the last year had been a Chili’s.

Behind the restaurant’s massive wooden, Hacienda-style doors is a menu with a unique take on Mexican food, like the smothered fajitas Rasmussen offered

Unlike other fajitas, the ones at Garcia’s are seasoned with a garlic oil then smothered with pepper jack cheese.

“The flavors — because we put a garlic sauce on (the fajitas) and then cover it with cheese, it all kinda just melts down in and it just adds that surprise to your palate,” Rasmussen said.

As Rasmussen explained, when the restaurant opened this summer, it was, at times, difficult to fulfill its needs — due to COVID-related delivery issues. The ice bin, for example, was finally delivered and installed this week, after originally being ordered four months ago.

The same has been true about the food.

Only recently has the smothered fajitas Rasmussen said are the most popular item on the menu become available, because of the lack of both steak and pepper jack cheese.

Rasmussen was also candid about some other issues that have made the first few months of the restaurant’s existence difficult.

Staffing, he said, has been difficult. Nearly half of the crew originally hired has since left, with so many options available as the economy attempts a rebound from the pandemic. Primarily, those deficits have come in the kitchen staff. In the past few months, it has meant longer wait times and slower service than Rasmussen expects.

But now, Rasmussen believes his kitchen is in a good place.

“The seven (cooks) I have now, we’re there,” he said. “I’ve got a good crew now.”

And those seven cooks are busy, producing housemade chips, salsa, guacamole and Garcia’s famous bean dip. In fact, everything is made in-house, Rasmussen said, except the tortillas, which are made and delivered multiple times per week.

Chips, salsa and bean dip from Garcia's in Pocatello
Chips, salsa and bean dip from Garcia’s in Pocatello. | Kalama Hines,

Garcia’s is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Happy Hour is daily, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Delivery from the Pocatello location is not yet available, but orders can be placed for takeout here.

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

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