Los Jarochos captures the flavors of Mexico and more local restaurant news

Los Jarochos owner Sandy Zuniga Hernandez manages the front of house while her boyfriend, Victor Marquez, runs the kitchen. Photo: Stephen Barling Los Jarochos owner Sandy Zuniga Hernandez manages the front of house while her boyfriend, Victor Marquez, runs the kitchen. Photo: Stephen Barling

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but, in this case, it takes a family to build a restaurant. Los Jarochos, Charlottesville’s newest Mexican restaurant, has gotten the entire Hernandez clan to contribute to the West Main space that formerly housed Horse & Hound Gastropub.

Despite the change in ownership, much of the look of the restaurant remains the same, with an open floor plan and a coin-covered bar. The interior, however, was painted a new shade of bright red by the father of owner and general manager Sandy Zuniga Hernandez before the restaurant’s June 27 grand opening. And the family continues to pitch in: Hernandez’s mother helped create recipes for the menu, and Hernandez’s boyfriend, Victor Marquez, does all the cooking.

“We’re very family-oriented here,” she says. “We work as a team because it’s the best way to do things.”

Los Jarochos, which means “originating from the Mexican state of Veracruz,” where Hernandez and her family are from, has a mission larger than serving customers breakfast, lunch and dinner. She laments that “Mexican places all have the same fajitas and the same flour quesadillas and chimichangas.”

“We want to serve real, authentic Mexican food,” Hernandez says. “I want people to know our culture, to have another perspective of Mexican food than burritos that aren’t really Mexican and what they’re used to getting.”

So far, the most popular menu items have been the breakfast tortillas with eggs and pork loin with mango sauce at dinner.

Hernandez says the restaurant’s opening, which was delayed several months due to permit restrictions, has been a whirlwind. The 22-year-old accounting student at PVCC fell in love with the restaurant environment after working as a waitress at El Jaripeo.

“When you get here we want you to sit down, taste the flavors and feel at home,” she says. “We’re trying to do the same things that we like when we go to a restaurant.”

Get your grub on

It’s that time again—when you suddenly make plans with people you haven’t seen in ages, just so you can eat at as many restaurants as possible in a nine-day period (no? maybe it’s just us). Restaurant Week is back from July 15-23, with 37 local restaurants creating special menus that highlight what they do best. New restaurants added to the lineup this time around are Tavern & Grocery, The Bebedero, The Fitzroy, Fellini’s and Commonwealth Restaurant & Skybar. Price points for the prix-fixe meals are $19, $29 and $39. And you can feel good about spending a little (or a lot of) money: Proceeds benefit the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Start poring over the menus now at charlottesvillerestaurantweek.com.

Tasty tidbits

Sweet summertime…It’s finally July and the fruit’s all here. The Pie Chest is transitioning to its summer menu with lots of blackberries, cherries and peaches from the Local Food Hub. Better with age…The sugaristas at Paradox Pastry celebrated the cafe’s recent fourth birthday by posting a Facebook photo of all the cookbooks that served as inspiration before it opened. Last-place winner…Despite coming in dead last behind Williamsburg, Virginia Beach and Harrisonburg in a Twitter poll about where Sugar Shack Donuts & Coffee’s next location should be, the franchise will be making its way to Charlottesville. The company says, “It’s a definite without a definite timeline.”