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Long-awaited Mexican restaurant finally opens near waterfront

After drawn-out relocation process, delayed by COVID and permitting issues, Mexican House will host an official opening Saturday

The Mexican House is finally up and running at the former Burger King location in the downtown Barrie Transit Terminal.

After a dragged-out relocation process, delayed by COVID and permitting issues, the restaurant will host an official opening with a Mexican-themed event on July 2.

“We want to honour all of the people that have supported us through this journey, both our clients and the amazing team we've formed,” says Denise Cervantes, brand manager at the Maple Avenue restaurant.

Formerly located in the Dunlop Plaza, The Mexican House was among the 20-plus businesses required to vacate due to the Highway 400 widening project in the area.

Cervantes and her team are thrilled by the prospect of moving to the new address.

“This location is right in front of the waterfront and offers a nice view of the lake from our patio while customers can enjoy a classic drink from our cantina-bar," she tells BarrieToday

The Mexican House offers traditional dishes from the central regions of Mexico, using cooking methods inherited from Mesoamerican groups with a strong Spanish influence. The menu includes pescado zarandeado, ajillo shrimp, arrachera and popular tacos, such as pastor, campechano and carnitas.

Besides the dining area, the Mexican House features a Latin market where customers find daily, freshly made traditional baked goods such as pastel de tres leches, conchas and churros, among others.

The atmosphere is meant to showcase highlights of Mexican art and culture.

“We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from our clients telling us that the place and food remind them of Mexico," says Cervantes.

Cervantes, daughter of restaurant owner Lety Murcer, says most of the family’s culinary influence comes from her grandparents' kitchen, from the time they lived in a rural area of Guanajuato, Mexico.

“My happiest memories come from the Sunday meals we used to have with the whole family. It always involved home-cooked traditional Mexican food and old classics of Mexican music," she says.

Cervantes noted that those Sunday mornings inspired the family, who immigrated to Canada in 2017, to open a space where more people could experience what being in a Mexican home feels like.

“I have seen my parents experiencing extreme hardships, but also a great success in different types of businesses. Nothing has ever made them happier than hosting a ‘space of Mexico’ in the community that we now call home," she says. 

Passionate about Barrie, Cervantes says people in the city are polite, cheerful and welcoming. She believes the growth of the city and its diverse demographics bring more demand for all types of food and of the Mexican style in particular.

“We get constant remarks from customers saying Mexican food is among their favourites," she says. 

The family also owns a second location, at 12 Commerce Park Dr., with a Latin American market featuring imported products, a Mexican bakery and a small dine-in/take-out restaurant.

The July 2 celebration at the waterfront location, meanwhile, will include live music, dancers, and giveaways through the evening. Among the performers, the Ballet Folkloric Puro, a well-known dance company in the Mexican community in Toronto, will present traditional Mexican Folkloric dance.

Mexican artist Mariana Moran will do the dancers' makeup. The Mariachi band Mexico de Noche will perform classics of Mexican music.