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  • Owatonna People's Press

    Empty space above The Blast finally reopens with new taco restaurant

    By By ANNIE HARMAN,

    2024-05-15

    https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=37JQvK_0t3i0rhc00

    The American dream is alive and well, and the proof can be found above The Blast in Owatonna.

    After two years of dreaming, seven months of intense manual labor, and one day of setting up the technology in the 11th hour, Taqueria Jalisco opened over the weekend, welcoming an authentic Mexican experience to the downtown district. Oscar Sanchez, well known for his 20-plus years working at Plaza Morena on the north side of town, is the face of the business, working alongside his wife Rosa, their son Oscar Jr., and co-owners Salvador and Alicia Garcia.

    “When he first told me he was going to open his own place, I just thought ‘No way,’” laughed Oscar Jr., as he recalled his dad announcing his ambition nearly two years ago. “But I told him that if you’re going to go for it, you better do it 100%.”

    Once the group agreed to take on the location at 206 Rose St. above The Blast, the former home of Black Sheep Burgers and Brews, Oscar Jr. said he was amazed to see the hard work his dad was putting into renovating the place.

    “He wasn’t getting home until 12 a.m., just drenched in sweat from working,” he said. “Every day, he was surprising me, so that’s when I knew it was time to step in and help.”

    After being open five days, the father-son duo sat at a table inside the restaurant as they watched their new customers try items off the menu, commenting on the happy faces they saw walking out their door.

    “When I see people leaving very happy, that makes my heart more happy,” Oscar said.

    Having moved from Guadalajara, Mexico, the Sanchez family has been in Owatonna for roughly 25 years. Up until Oscar decided to try tackling his own restaurant project, he had been working for close friend and mentor Jose Herrera, owner of Plaza Morena.

    “Jose is very supportive, he told me however he could help he would,” Oscar said. “He is my teacher.”

    Inside the building, the team completely revamped the space, transforming it into a Mexican getaway complete with uniquely colored tiles in place of door and window trim. Oscar said it has been fun to have people come inside for the first time and be in disbelief with how much it has changed.

    And though Owatonna may not be where he was born and raised, Oscar is adamant that there is no other place he would rather be and be running a new business.

    “I like it here in Owatonna,” he said with a smile. “I don’t want to be anywhere but here.”

    With everything authentic and fresh, Oscar says there is something for everyone inside the taqueria. His personal favorite is the “quesabirria,” a taco with shredded beef, a cheese sauce and a broth to dip it in.

    “They like it too much,” Oscar joked. “I tell them if they order it and do not like it, that’s OK, they don’t have to pay.”

    So far, Oscar has not had to pick up anyone’s check for the quesabirria.

    “They end up ordering more,” he said.

    The horchata has also already become a fan favorite, with Rosa concocting her own special recipes that include fresh fruit and other ingredients. On Tuesday, few people left the restaurant without a to-go cup filled with her strawberry horchata.

    “They are happy, we are happy,” Oscar said. “Everyone is very happy.”

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