During a time when restaurants were forced to shut their doors because of coronavirus concerns, takeout orders are the norm now. In business for nearly 45 years, La Casita is adapting to the closures with a full take out menu offering Tex-Mex dishes such as enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, burritos, quesadillas, and more.
Owner and Alpine native Tommy Ramos took over the restaurant 23 years ago from the original owners, his grandparents Juan and Jesusita Ramos. Ramos began working there in 1980, while still a freshman at Alpine High School.
“I would go to school, and then after school I would come in and help until closing. I knew so much about the restaurant when I was ready to take over,” Ramos recalled. “When my grandparents decided to stop, I took over right then and there. I was raised by my grandparents, so I’ve always been in the restaurant business.”
La Casita offers meals all day, including lunch and dinner specials.
“A lot of customers order our Mexican plate because it has a little bit of everything- enchiladas, tacos, rice, and beans. Another one is the deluxe campechanga, which is chips with meat, beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and guacamole on the side,” said Ramos.
Lunch is served from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and dinner from 5-8 p.m. daily. La Casita is closed Sunday and Monday.
Lonely Planet, one of the most trusted travel sources, gave La Casita rave reviews.
“This Mexican restaurant is one of the most popular places in town. If you can get a seat, join the locals over a plate (and be careful, the plate will be hot) of spicy, cheesy specialties,” said Lonely Planet.
Since dining in is no longer an option, Ramos admits that has been a stumbling block, along with having to let go of hard-working staff members.
Ramos said, “With our dining room being closed, it has slowed down because we are only doing to-go, but since we have been here for several years, we have a lot of regular customers, and it has been steady.”
Before the shutdown, Ramos employed 14, and that has now been slashed to six. Ramos said he enjoyed working with many of the staff members who had families, including high school and college students working part-time.
He noted the government shutdown is hurting his business, and said there is nothing positive about it.
“I just want everything to end, because all the people that I did let go, I promised them that as soon as we are back and open with our dining room, they all have their jobs back. So, I want them to come back to work as soon as everything is back to normal. A lot of people know us because we have been here a long time. La Casita has never been closed,” said Ramos.