Tuesday, March 28Welcome

Authentic Mexican restaurant opens in Longview

A plate of quesaviria from Los Jalapenos Taqueria in Longview. (Los Jalapeños Taqueria, contributed)

Contributed by Los Jalapenos Taqueria

Los Jalapeños Taqueria is Longview’s newest Mexican restaurant, opening in early December.

The restaurant is co-owned by Ulises Ledesma Cruz and Ignacio ‘Jose’ Mendoza Reyes, two young men from Mexico who started their first business after years of living in Cowlitz County.

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Reyes worked in Calama’s Playa Azul kitchen for over ten years. Although he began cooking as one of his in a series of local jobs, including planting his tree for Christmas, Reyes invested in the taste and appearance of meals.

“I wanted to do better for myself and make more money,” Reyes said.

Los Jalapenos

Pedro, one of Los Jalapeños Taqueria’s cooks, prepares the beans before the restaurant opens in Longview on Thursday, Dec. 29.

Brennen Kaufmann

Reyes worked at Plaza Azul for several years alongside Ulises’ sister Sara Ledesma Cruz. When Reyes decided to open a restaurant independently earlier this year, he convinced his 24-year-old Ulises to quit his job as a mechanic and join.

“My mother worked in a restaurant in Mexico, so when Jose and my sister made this offer, she encouraged me to try,” Ledesma Cruz said.

The building on the 900 block on 14th Street near the Heritage Bank has cycled through multiple restaurants over the past 30 years. The duck window in the front lobby retains the appearance of the Italian restaurant “The Rusty Duck” era. Recently, a teriyaki restaurant and a sushi restaurant have opened.

Los Jalapenos

Los Jalapeños Taqueria co-owners ‘Jose’ Mendoza Reyes (left) and Ulises Ledesma Cruz (left) stand in the lobby of a restaurant in Longview on Thursday, December 29th.

Brennen Kaufmann

Los Jalapenos will open as soon as the kitchen and dining area are ready, but details are still being worked out. A short menu is posted on a paper sign behind the counter, waiting for the display screen to arrive, and two small paintings of him by Redes Macrus enliven the booth in his main room.

“When you move in, it’s boom,” Ledesma Cruz said. “I didn’t expect so much food to sell so quickly. This is a good thing.”

Reyes focuses on restaurant backend dining, while Ledesma Cruz focuses on remodeling and customer care. Sara promotes the restaurant online and helps manage her Facebook page. This helped us to gain attention in a short period of time.


Tacos are made with homemade corn tortillas and can include chicken, asada, pastor, chorizo, biria, or lengua.

Contributed by Los Jalapeños Taqueria

Taqueria’s menu is relatively small, but the emphasis is on fresh ingredients. The restaurant uses corn tortillas handcrafted in the Longview area. Reyes and the other cooks come early each day to make fresh beans and prepare a variety of meats for delivery.

“If you leave the rice in the fridge for a week, it starts to taste weird and people notice the difference. Jose really cares about keeping things fresh,” says Ledesma Cruz. I got

The menu features burritos for breakfast and large seafood plates for dinner, but so far the lunch rush is the busiest time of the day. The most popular dishes are tacos and quesaviria, a taco-like dish stuffed with beef and cheese and served with dipping his broth on the side.


Quesaviria with beef stew and homemade tortillas is $12.50 plus tax.

Contributed by Los Jalapeños Taqueria

The owners hope to expand the menu and restaurant interior if they keep busy. Ledesma Cruz wants to eventually turn her side dining area into her 21+ section with a bar.

Talking Business is a series that features local new or expanded businesses and prints every Tuesday.

For potential inclusion in the series, please contact Daily News reporter Brennen Kauffman at 360-577-7828 or bkauffman@tdn.com.

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