When the Corner Café, a long time staple of Flandreau’s downtown district, closed their doors in the late fall of 2012, it left the town with a vacant spot on the corner of Crescent and 2nd Avenue, as well as leaving the citizens with a vacant spot in their stomachs.
Well the town folk no longer have that vacant spot, Thanks to Cristobal Ortega and his wife Victoria, the proud new owners and operators of Victoria’s Mexican Restaurant.
The husband and wife duo decided to expand their footprint in Flandreau; the two have operated the Mexican Grocery Store in town for several years.
“People who shopped at the grocery store always asked me why I don’t open a Mexican Restaurant in town,” said Cristobal, and so he did.
Although the two do not have first hand experience in running a restaurant, Cristobal comes from a family of restaurant owners. His mother owned a restaurant in Guatemala, where he was born and raised, while his sister owns a small restaurant in Miami, Florida.
“It is nice to have something to my own, it is a lot of hard work, but I am not too stressed out yet,” Cristobal said laughing.
There is not much to be stressed about; from all accounts the people of Flandreau love the food he is offering, and it is evident most days during the lunch and dinner rush, when a majority of the newly remodeled booths are packed with patrons, anxiously awaiting their first bite.
To some customers, it is their first time eating the southern cuisine. Victoria’s is the first Mexican Restaurant the town has ever had. Something Cristobal is very conscious of.
“Right now we serve a tex-mex style of food, because that is what we know people like. Later, we will try specials that include the kinds of food you would have in Mexico or Guatemala. If they like it, we will add it to our menu.”
A menu that is packed full of only fresh products. Every morning the staff of Victoria’s shows up two hours early to prepare their fresh beans, rice, salsa and so on.
“One thing people should know about us is that nothing is frozen, we make everything fresh daily,” said Leslie, one of the staff waitresses.
It helps that they have their local grocery store to go to when they need something, but Cristobal also owns a grocery store in Sioux Falls with his sister called, Tienda America, on South Franklin Avenue.
All of these contribute to the great taste the restaurant offers, but no food, no matter how fresh, is complete without a great chef. Victoria’s is staffed with several chefs, all of which have 10 or more years of experience behind the grill.
As of now, Victoria’s has seen mostly a local crowd, but Cristobal is hopeful that word will spread and people from the surrounding communities will flock to Flandreau for his food.
Although he is open to change at any time, he hasn’t heard one complaint from a customer, something he takes pride in and knows it has a lot to do with the staff and all the hard work they put in every day.
Victoria’s is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. and he says if you don’t know what to order, the fajitas are great.