What to Eat: La Puente

There is something to be said about homemade food. It has a delicious freshness that is just unmatched in mass produced food. La Puente Homemade Mexican Food is an example of how delicious homemade can be.

The chips and salsa are both made on site and you can tell a difference. The thin yet crispy texture of the chips is perfect and the salsa is spot on. They also make their sauces and tortillas from scratch. I can personally tell in the flavors that everything is very fresh and delicious. One of their signature dishes is the Chile Verde sauce which while traditionally is green, is actually a slight orange color at La Puente with their proprietary blend of seasonings, and it is delicious! People travel from all over Utah just for their Chile Verde.

Traditional Mexican rice and refried beans are also fresh made, there are no cans in the back. Everything is made onsite or nearby and it shows in the flavors.

La Puente was founded in Salt Lake City by the Tovar family and is patterned after New Mexican food. In the 1500s, New Mexico was still part of Mexico and the mixing of their traditional foods with imported European cuisine, especially from Spain, were the predecessors to the food you can enjoy today at La Puente. It is called New Mexico Mexican Cuisine. Eventually, the restaurant grew enough that the Tovar family began offering limited franchises to people with the same values and with the same focus on fresh delicious food.

We had a chance to meet Jesus (who goes by Jesse), who is the son of the owner, Jesus Barbosa Sr. Jesus Sr. immigrated to the United States in 19.. and started working as a bus boy at a La Puente restaurant. As immigrants often do, he saw the limitless opportunity that is uniquely American and he saved up his money and purchased his own franchise of La Puente Mexican Restaurant in 2011 on 12th St. just west of Washington Blvd. Jesus does a majority of the cooking and is very particular about the flavors and freshness of the food. Being a family business, Jesse has grown up in the business and helps run the restaurant today. Their desire is to have a family restaurant that people will want to come back to over and over.

Jesse is often the face of the business as he is out serving tables and interacting with their customers. He was joined by his uncle and a cousin the night we visited the restaurant. He loves working with his family and meeting and interacting with his customers every day. He also loves that he gets to see his parents every day. That is a commendable sign that an adult man loves seeing his mom and dad every day.

Some other customer favorites are the enchiladas, burritos, tacos, and most customers love smothering the dishes in their signature Chile Verde sauce with melted cheese. Jesus Sr. has even added several dishes to the menu including a delicious shrimp cocktail, carne asada and fish street tacos. He also added some desserts, including fried ice cream, flan, and sopapillas with honey butter. We recommend stopping by for a lunch or dinner at La Puente, your tongue will thank you.

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