Daily News photo/JOHN EBY Marco and Sanjuanita Ortiz with their daughter, Isaura, at El Paso Mexican restaurant, 724 North Front St. She lived in Texas, but they actually picked the name because it is “short and easy to remember.”

Bizline: El Paso Mexican Restaurant

Published 6:58pm Sunday, June 17, 2012

Name of business: El Paso Mexican restaurant. Dine in or take out.

Name of owners: Marco and Sanjuanita Ortiz of Dowagiac

Address of business: 724 North Front St.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day

Telephone number: (269) 462-9336; www.facebook.com/ELPASOMexicanRestaurant; elpasorestaurant1@yahoo.com

Business opened: 2011

What type of business do you operate? Authentic Mexican food. Catering available for any occasion — anniversaries, reunions, birthday parties, graduations.

What brought you to Dowagiac? Marco worked for a restaurant in St. Joseph and decided he wanted to start his own.

What sets your business apart from similar ventures? Manager Nancy Esparza of Eau Claire said, “Every customer is part of the family. We know most by name. They don’t have to order because we already know what they want when they walk in the door. New customers, we try to make their experience here better than anywhere else they’ve had, from the server to the cook, so they want to come back. That’s our goal, to build our customer base.”

With an extensive menu of steak, chicken and shrimp dishes, as well as fried ice cream and flan for dessert, what is customers’ favorite? The $7.99 fajita burrito is a giant flour tortilla stuffed with grilled chicken or steak, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes topped with cheese dip, lettuce and pico de gallo. Unlimited chips and salsa are homemade. A number of dishes are prepared with shrimp, such as spicy Camaron a la Diabla with rice, beans and tortillas. Monday’s special is $1 tacos.

What are your plans? El Paso already delivers around Dowagiac, with a “taco truck” debuting in July to serve portable pre-made items such as burritos at migrant camps. Also in July, they will begin grilling three steak and chicken packages outside. They also hope to obtain a liquor license to serve margaritas.

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