Red or Green?
Full Stomach, Happy Heart
Silver City's Kountry Kitchen has new owners and a planned
new location, but the same good Mexican food.
by Peggy Platonos
Since 1978, Silver City's Kountry Kitchen has been serving up Mexican food that is considered to be some of the best that can be found in the area. All the dishes are tasty, unpretentious, attractively presented and reasonably priced. And there is no reason to believe that this will change after the restaurant moves in March to a new location.
The menu is expected to remain the same. Why mess with success? The menu includes all the usual favorites, cooked very nicely indeed, and they are available all day long — tacos, burritos, enchiladas, chimichangas, flautas, quesadillas, tostadas, fajitas, even tamales. Prices for full meals with rice and beans range mostly from $6 to $9.25. Individual items can be ordered as side dishes for as little as $2.50 for a taco or enchilada, $3.50 for a chile relleno and $4.25 for a bean and cheese burrito. The most expensive items on the lunch/dinner menu are a House Special combination plate that includes an enchilada, taco, chile relleno and burrito for $10.50, a chicken or beef fajitas plate for $11, a sirloin carne asada plate for $11, and a ribeye carne asada plate for $13.
Breakfast items are also available all day long, and choices include huevos rancheros (regular or with chunky meat), chorizo and eggs, tamale and eggs, breakfast burritos, omelets, even pancakes and French toast. Prices range from $5.50 (regular breakfast burrito) to $8.50 (huevos rancheros with chunky meat).
The menus offer a few surprises, as well — like albondigas (Mexican meatball soup) on the lunch/dinner menu, and, on the breakfast menu, chilaquiles (fried corn tortilla chips smothered in red or green sauce and served with potatoes, beans and eggs). Another less well-known dish on the breakfast menu is machaca (shredded pork cooked with onion, jalapeños and tomatoes and scrambled with eggs). Kountry Kitchen desserts also include hard-to-find items like Mexican flan and rum cake.
The cover of the lunch/dinner menu proclaims: "Estomago Lleno" (Full Stomach) … "Corazon Contento" (Happy Heart). And the food at the Kountry Kitchen certainly seems to fit the bill on both counts.
The restaurant was established by Gregorio Gerardo, who sold it in 2011 to his brother-in-law, Silver City contractor Joe Parra, and Parra's wife, Cecilia. Three years later, Gregorio hasn't left. He is still there as chef, turning out the same popular, high-quality food as always, with no plans to stop doing so.
"Gregorio is like me — a workaholic," Joe says, with a smile. "He's never going to retire."
Though neither of the Parras had previous experience running a restaurant, long-time customers can rest easy. The Kountry Kitchen is in good hands. Chihuahua-born Cecilia is doing a fine job running the dining room, and Gregorio, of course, continues to provide a rock-solid base in the kitchen.
Joe's connection with the Kountry Kitchen, incidentally, dates back to the restaurant's very beginning, when the business occupied less than a quarter of the space it does now.
"When Gregorio took it over, it was just a small sandwich shop called ‘Buns and Cones,' located in a loft overlooking the main floor of the old Maxwell House Store," Joe says. "It was a tiny space at first, with windows that gave a view into the store. The rest of the space that is now restaurant seating was taken up with offices. The offices also had windows overlooking the store."
Joe did the initial remodeling for Gregorio's little restaurant. And, nearly a quarter of a century later, it was Joe who carried out the renovations that quadrupled the size of the small but thriving business by converting the abandoned store offices into a much-expanded restaurant dining area after the Maxwell House Store closed. The original window glass from the offices still exists behind the decorative arches along the inner wall, he points out.
It seems totally fitting that Joe also carried out the renovations that transformed an office complex into an attractive restaurant premises, at 1700 Mountainview Road, off Hwy. 180 opposite McDonald's. This was the building where the original Don Juan's Restaurant was established, and it is the very same building that the Parras are now in the process of purchasing, and into which they plan to move the Kountry Kitchen by the end of March.
Joe is busy carrying out more remodeling there. And long-term plans include expanding the seating capacity of the restaurant at the new location by creating a large patio area that will be screened-in during the summer and glassed-in during the winter months. Through all seasons, the patio will offer a panoramic view of the Silver City area.
"Our lease is coming up for renewal at the present location," Joe explains. "We had been thinking we'd really like to have our own building, so we could be open seven days a week, and this seemed like a good time to make the move."
The Kountry Kitchen currently occupies space rented from the Harvest Fellowship Assembly of God church, and cannot operate there on Sundays.
In addition to expanding the restaurant's hours to seven days a week at the new location, the Parras also plan to offer delivery service during lunchtime hours for the immediate Silver City area.
Until renovations are completed in the new building, however, the Kountry Kitchen will continue to operate at 1505 N. Hudson, in the back section of the Harvest Fellowship building. And it will continue to be open Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parties of up to 20 people can be accommodated, with advance notice.
For more information or to make a reservation, call (575) 388-4512.
Send Mimbres freelance writer Peggy Platonos tips for restaurant reviews
at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (575) 536-2997.