Archive for Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mobile Mexican restaurant now open for business in Tonganoxie

May 25, 2005

It's a different kind of meals on wheels.

Patti Moreno, who lives in Jarbalo, last week opened VIP Express.

This is a sort of rolling restaurant from which Moreno, and her cook, Victor Vasquez, sell Mexican food.

Last week, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, she set up in front of Angell's Liquor, about two miles west of Tonganoxie on Kansas Highway 16. And on Sunday and Monday she was in front of Countryside Garden Center, near County Road 5 and Laming Road. She plans to be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Moreno is enthusiastic about her venture.

"I came up with this idea a year ago," she said, smiling. "But I didn't have the money or the backing to do it. I told my family if I ever have the money this is what I'm going to do."

Since then, she inherited money from her mother -- enough to build her dream restaurant on wheels.

She will prepare the meals in a restaurant kitchen, in compliance with state regulations.

Her trailer includes sinks, a griddle, stovetop, oven and refrigerator.

And her menu includes tacos, taquitos, burritos, tamales, sandwiches and, for those who prefer American food, hot dogs.

Moreno, who spent several months in Mexico a couple of years ago, said a friend's mother, who lives in Chihuahua, taught her the authentic way to cook Mexican food. For instance, she said, everything is made from scratch, including, of course, the tamales.

"They're a lot of work," Moreno said. "It takes one whole day just to do tamales."

And, she makes her own enchilada sauce, starting with dried peppers. Some of the produce will be home grown.

"Growing a garden is something very, very big with the Mexican people," Moreno said. "It's fresh, they love fresh. That's kind of been drilled in my head -- make sure everything is fresh, make sure everything is clean."

Moreno plans to keep her business on the move, taking her cart wherever she's wanted. And, she'll be available for special events. For instance, Moreno plans to be a part of Tonganoxie Days, set for June 11.

"The way my business is set up, you just call me and ask me where my location is and you can come right to me," Moreno said. "You can also find out what's on the menu for that day."

She's optimistic about her business.

"I've spoken to a lot of people in the public and as business owners here in Tonganoxie," Moreno said. "And I've not had a negative reaction."

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