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Vallarta's Mexican Restaurant hours

• Monday to Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

• Friday to Saturday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

• Sunday: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

— What can a new Mexican restaurant bring to Craig?

Rogelio Nuñez believes there's room for a little family, and a little Mexico.

"We just bring a little part of Mexico here, and we hope everyone gives us a try," Nuñez said.

Nuñez is the cook at Vallarta's Mexican Restaurant in Centennial Mall, a recently opened eatery immediately noticeable by the adobe and wood storefront toward the mall's east end.

It's not that other Mexican restaurants in town lack something; it's more that Vallarta's offers a little homemade flair.

A little flair from momma, who makes the green tomatillo, chipotle and mole sauces.

The three are something of a gamut of Mexican sauces. Tomatillos make a sweet green sauce, where chipotles make a tangy red.

Mole is something different altogether, created with a little peanut, a little chocolate and other ingredients.

The kitchen has some house specialties, as well, Nuñez said.

Its most popular so far has been the rellenos, fried peppers stuffed with cheese and a choice of other things.

Vallarta's offers rellenos made with the traditional poblano pepper and a "crispy" rellenos made with anaheims.

"People really seem to like those kinds of chiles," Nuñez said.

The menu has other differences from Mexican restaurants familiar to the Craig palette, he added.

"We have different sopapillas," Nuñez said. "And our tamales are really homemade. We wrap them in corn leaves before they cook."

The Nuñez family hails from the Mexican state Jalisco and came to this country to try its fortunes in the restaurant business, Nuñez said.

Vallarta's is a regional chain, with two other locations on the Western Slope.

So far, business in Craig has been good and steady, Nuñez said.

"Everything has gone OK," he said. "It's nice being here and have people come try us for the first time."

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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