La Plaza Taqueria & Ice Cream Shop celebrates its grand opening on Saturday, Aug. 26 in Amherst.
The location marks another venture from owner Adrian Ortega, who founded the Lakewood location, a kitchen in Re:Bar on East Ninth Street Downtown and the now-closed Taco Burrito Express in Wickliffe.
The new Amherst shop boasts the same delicious, traditional cuisine locals have come to love — street-style tacos ($4) on corn tortillas and a self-serve topping bar. And a grocery section on an even larger scale than Lakewood’s is expected in November. The new space is roughly 27,000 square feet compared to Lakewood’s 12,000, much more room for Ortega’s ambition.
Right near the highway and central to a large Hispanic population on the West Side, Ortega says the spot was a great opportunity. The building formerly housed another grocery store years ago, he adds, and with a gas station on the property, it made for a perfect fit.
“The store is bigger, is better laid out,” Ortega says. “I have more room now and I know what I'm doing. I have an idea. And that's helping me to build that store. So, it's going to be a phenomenal experience for anyone that wants to jump in.”
Despite the increase in sheer size, the real shining star of the new La Plaza might be the ice cream. With more than 20 flavors available, and another 20 or so popsicle varieties, Ortega offers something a little different than locals might expect from the average frozen treat stand.
Made in-house, La Plaza’s icy dessert takes its roots from Ortega’s home of Michoacan, Mexico. Flavors step outside of the Midwestern tradition — your rocky road, cookie monster or plain vanilla — and into the world of avocado, various fruit flavors like mango and papaya and even corn.
“And the beauty of that or any Mexican ice cream that you can find is that the person that makes it creates his own recipes, his own ways of putting it together,” he says. “Because it's very personal.”
Of course, don’t miss delicious staples like elote ($1.50), delicious tacos ($4), and in the coming months, corned beef and gyros sourced locally.
“One of my biggest goals that I always had, is that the people that appreciate my food, my cuisine, is locals,” Ortega says. “When I say locals, it means from any background. They could be Mexican, they could be Puerto Rican, they could be Croatian, they could be German. They want to go for the real product, and that’s what La Plaza has.”
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