Customers walking into Mi Pueblito Mexican Restaurant on Crossfield Drive have gotten accustomed to being greeted by a warm smile from manager Froy Lopez when they come into its dining room for lunch or dinner.
“I know everyone and everybody knows me,” says a laughing Froy, who describes people in Versailles – a place he’s grown to love and call home – as “too friendly.”
Froy’s smile and a hug were there to greet regular customer Connie Simpson when she stopped by to eat lunch with her daughter, Laurie Dorough, last Thursday before noon.
Connie says Froy “took me in” as his American mom when she started coming to Mi Pueblito several years ago. It was the only restaurant in town where husband Doug Simpson felt comfortable coming to eat when he was sick with dementia.
“He felt at home here,” she says.
After Doug, the former pastor of Pinckard Baptist Church, died about a year ago, Connie says she “felt lost,” but continued coming to Mi Pueblito for its food and kindness.
“They’re just really good to me,” explains Connie, who has a quiet corner booth where she eats lunch and reads a book.
“They’re just down to earth, and they make me feel loved.”
Asked about the food (her usual choice is a chalupa), Connie says, “Muy bueno” – that’s “very good” in English.
Mi Pueblito has been serving its authentic Mexican and Americanized Mexican meals to customers since May 25, 2005. A mix of menu choices include meals made with real Mexican ingredients as well as taco salads, enchiladas and burritos that Americans are accustomed to eating, explains Froy.
With this delicate balance of catering to the tastes of every customer who walks through its doors, he says Mi Pueblito has made a home at 103 Crossfield Drive serving customers from all walks of life, including about 80 percent who are American and want to eat Mexican food with less seasoning than authentic meals.
Customers with roots in Mexico or those who prefer real Mexican food can order the spicy meals they crave at Mi Pueblito too, Froy says.
A native of Mexico, who has lived in this country for almost 18 years, Froy says he still enjoys eating real Mexican food, but “I like my menu and I taste everything,” because it’s important to him that every meal – whether authentic or Americanized – meets the expectations of every customer who comes into Mi Pueblito.
If a customer wants a meal prepared a little differently than what’s on the menu, Froy says, “It’s too easy for me to make it because we have everything.
“… We can do it, whatever the customer wanted.”
Asked what he likes about managing a restaurant, Froy says, “everything.” He especially takes pride in always using fresh ingredients in meals served at Mi Pueblito, and credits “good service, a smile, good food,” for bringing people, who he calls his friends, back to the restaurant for a quiet lunch, family meals or to celebrate birthdays together – with ice cream.