Dishing Up Innovation Series– Laura Leite – Belleville Telescope News
One in a series. The pandemic has been a challenge for Republic county restaurants. Many found innovative ways to serve and support the community they call home. Over the next few weeks, the Telescope will take a closer look at local restaurants and how they have persevered. Read and subscribe – www.thebellevilletelescope.com.
Jose Onate, the owner of Los Primos, Tex Mex Restaurant says, “The first two weeks of the pandemic, we slowed down a lot, maybe half the normal number of customers.”
“When they closed the dining areas of the restaurants, we opened the drive-through window to serve our customers and keep the business going,” said Onate.
“We are not back to the normal number of customers, because people are still scared,” he says. “Maybe someday.”
“Things are steady, we always have customers, but not like it was before,” he says. “We have a lot of take-out; people love the to-go Margaritas.”
Onate bought the restaurant December 1, 2015, choosing to come to Republic County because he was familiar with the area and he liked the community. Before moving to Belleville, Onate lived in Beatrice, Nebraska.
“I decided to buy the business because I didn’t want to work for someone else,” Onate said. Onate has made a lot of changes to the restaurant that have added to the success. He painted everything, adding color and artistry to the windows for an old-world charm, and lights in the parking lot for the safety of his patrons. He pays attention to small details of the table service assuring the best experience for those that dine there, he says. Most important to Onate is the cleanliness of his restaurant.
“When I started, my brother helped me and we changed all the recipes,” said Onate. The popularity of the changes are reflected on customer reviews on Facebook.
Jose Onate has worked in restaurants most of his life and started out as a dishwasher and then a server. Learning the business from the bottom up helped him to learn what works for a successful restaurant and what does not, he says.
The staff at Los Primos wants to make everyone feel like family. Onate says, “We visit with people and let them know that they are important to us.”
“I have customers that come in every day and if they pass away, I feel the loss like a family member,” he says.
“We are friends with our customers on Facebook and know them from Scandia, Courtland and other parts of the county,” said Onate.
“The community here is like family to me,” he says.
Follow them on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Los-Primos-Belleville-1840663989584649
Dishing Up Innovation Series
Part 1 – Los Primos Counts Customers As Family
Part 2 – Pinky’s Bar & Grill
Part 3 – Cuba Restaurant Owners Decide To Stay After Czeching Out Local Hospitality
Part 4 – Generations Of Garman Family Work Together To Cook Up Business Success In Scandia
Part 5 – Making A ‘Steak’ In The Community