In Central Texas, you can throw a rock in any direction outside and hit a Mexican or Tex-Mex eatery, but at the fledgling Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, the goal is not to blend in.
Co-owners Maria and Scott Hall along with Maria’s daughter, Alejandra Palomo, and the rest of the Maria’s team plan to make their restaurant a place where people can not only enjoy great cuisine and drinks but also feel like family.
“We’re always here taking care of things,” Palomo said. “We like to think our food is really family-based.”
Maria’s opened around three years ago but Maria said she took over ownership of the restaurant in November.
Often restaurant patrons can see Palomo and her brother, Angel, a student at Hardin-Simmons University, ensuring the restaurant runs smoothly and guests have a great time.
“If the dishes are dirty, Scott helps. … If there isn’t a waiter available, I will help,” Palomo said. “We all help out.”
The current location was ideal for the ownership team because access to US 183 makes it easy for hungry travelers to come into the restaurant, Maria and Scott said.
“I wanted something with a lot of traffic, not somewhere … where the location is hidden,” Maria said.
Scott said there are many new homes being built in the area as well.
“It’s a good location, it’s convenient for people to come in and go,” he said.
In addition to traditional Mexican fare Maria’s offers some unique food and drink options. Maria said her favorite thing to eat is the Maria’s Special Burger, which comes with bacon, pineapple, grilled onions, grilled jalapenos and queso.
The team at Maria’s already has some ideas to promote the business, one of which is inviting bands to play live music on Friday nights.
“We love music, especially country,” Palomo said.
But Maria said her business plans will not stop with live music and karaoke.
“I want to have a chain of restaurants,” Maria said. “I would love that. My husband said it’s hard work, but I would love that. That is my dream.”
Maria, Scott and Alejandra’s favorite dishes:
Pollo de Mole – tender shredded chicken blanketed in mole sauce
Maria’s Special Burger – bacon, queso, pineapple, and grilled onions and jalapeños
Carne Asada Maria’s Style – lemon pepper marinated beef
Liquid Marijuana – spiced rum, melon liqueur, coconut rum, blue curacao, sweet and sour and pineapple juice
Tres Leches Cake – with chocolate or strawberry on top
Cheesecake – strawberries or chocolate cheesecake with whipped cream on top
Maria’s Mexican Restaurant
109 US 183, Leander