After spending his entire life working in family restaurants, Jesus Guitron decided to open one of his own. In the beginning of February, Lincoln welcomed Mi Tierra Family Mexican Restaurant, but it wasn’t until mid-May that Guitron got a liquor license and started having steady service.
Mi Tierra took over the spot once occupied by the Indian restaurant Taj Mahal at 5500 Old Cheney Road.
Guitron decided the South Lincoln location would be the perfect spot for another family restaurant. After working at Mazatlan and Las Margaritas, Guitron began looking for a space that would fit his needs.
“I saw this location on a local ad and knew it was the spot,” he said. “Being in the restaurant business is all I know, so this was my chance.”
Guitron and his cousin Jesse have been a tag team in the restaurant business for some time, according to Guitron. With nearly 45 years of experience operating a chain of restaurants in Washington, Oregon, California and Idaho, Jesse helped Guitron during his new journey and became the co-owner.
“I have been cooking for my whole life,” Guitron said. “All of my recipes are versions of what my mother and grandmother made when I was little.”
Mi Tierra serves many Mexican standards, including quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas, carne asada and tamales. They even have a section called the “big boy platters” for those who have eyes bigger than their stomachs. This group includes the “Viva Mexico,” a three-shrimp dish served on rice, lettuce, guacamole and pico de gallo; the “Mi Tierra Trio,” a chicken, crab and shrimp plate covered in cream sauce; the “Dos Puertos,” a sauteed scallops, shrimp, mushrooms and onions dish; and plenty more.
Because Lincoln is densely populated with Mexican restaurants, Guitron knew he needed to bring a flare of his own to Mi Tierra. Guitron grew up in Jalisco, Mexico, the home of mariachi and tequila, and that background became an important influence on the restaurant.
“We will have a mariachi band come in a few times a month to keep things exciting,” he said. “We also have $3.50 margaritas every Tuesday and Thursday during our Happy Hour because we know our customers will love it.”
With his attention to customers’ wants, Guitron has managed to draw a few regulars. Lincoln residents Al Lipka and his family come to Mi Tierra at least two times a week, and Lipka is Guitron’s self-proclaimed “best customer.” It was a shock to them when he wasn’t at Mazatlan one day for their weekly hugs and Mexican food fix.
“We had no idea that he moved from that restaurant,” Lipka said. “Needless to say that we don’t go there anymore. We only come here.”
Mi Tierra’s dinner rush lasts a few hours and has a line that sometimes goes out the door, so Lipka and his family try to arrive early in order to miss the flood of people.
“We are here a lot, two to three times a week,” Lipka said. “It is fully worth it though. We love it.”
Mi Tierra hosts Happy Hour specials from 3:30-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday. Guitron is hoping he can start to bring in more of the college crowd and grow the company even more.
“We’ll see what the future holds for us,” he said. “For now, I am just excited for this opportunity.”