The “Las Margaritas margarita” and a blended strawberry drink are two of the margaritas offered at Las Margaritas in Coon Rapids.
The “Las Margaritas margarita” and a blended strawberry drink are two of the margaritas offered at Las Margaritas in Coon Rapids.
October 28, 2013

Coon Rapids

Las Margaritas is true to its name.

The Mexican restaurant, which opened in Coon Rapids in September, boasts a variety of tequila-infused drinks. But its food isn't to be ignored.

With a full spectrum of burritos, fajitas, chimichangas and more, the restaurant offers hefty portions, many costing less than $10 a plate. Both vegetarians and meat lovers will be satisfied with the options available.

Staple Mexican sauces are offered, from salsa and queso to the less well-known mole, with its pepper base and notes of chocolate and cinnamon. But for customers who aren't sold on refried beans and guacamole, more traditional American fare, such as hamburgers, is available.

"Pretty much all my customers are from (the U.S.), and I want to keep everyone happy," owner Victor Pina said.

The restaurant, located at 501 S. 5th Ave. in Coon Rapids, is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Pina and his wife, Jamie, ran a Las Americas restaurant in Carroll for several years before their lease ran out and they decided to move to Coon Rapids.

They've lived there for only several months, but Pina said the city already feels like home.

"I like it - the community," Pina said. "I mean, the people are so friendly. They support the business really well."

Although the move necessitated a name change, Pina said, he is happy with the new choice.

"I like the name," he said. "It's a really popular name. There's no way you can forget 'Las Margaritas.'"

With yellow and red walls, the restaurant's cheery interior fills with customers on a Friday night. Ages range, but most seem happy. One group jokes with its driver, asking her questions to make sure she's still able to drive after the margarita that accompanied her meal - and with good reason; the sign outside doesn't lie. The restaurant's drink offerings range from the fruity, blended strawberry variety to the "Las Margaritas margarita" that packs a bit more of a punch.

Pina said he's proud of the drinks' popularity, and he wants the food to satisfy as well. Many customers walked out with leftovers, which taste almost as good the following day. For the Mexican-food-loving vegetarian, the veggie burrito is a tasty choice that amounts to at least two full meals. For the seafood-loving patron who is dreaming of the coast, the menu offers an entire shrimp and crab selection from fajitas to enchiladas.

For Pina, the choice to open a restaurant was a no-brainer.

"It's pretty much the only job that I know," Pina said. "I've worked all my life in restaurants."

Pina, who moved to the U.S. from Guadalajara, Mexico, in 1994, said he grew up in a small town with a poor family.

"Everyone talked about the United States, (said) there's a good life, so this is why I come," he said. "My dream was to make a better life for my family."

Pina met his wife, Jamie, in Minnesota. They have two children, Victor Jr., 3, and Julian, 1.

"I want everyone to say it's the best Mexican restaurant in Coon Rapids," he said with a laugh. "Because we're the only one, right?"