Authentic Mexican Food/Inviting Atmosphere
by Jenny Dubach
The word “authentic” has powerful meaning when describing ethnic foods. It speaks to one’s heritage, as well as their upbringing and culture. Food is powerful, too. It can comfort, it can heal, and it can affect a person’s overall mood or outlook.
Christian and Heather Martinez have been very successful in recreating and keeping family food traditions alive within their incredibly quaint Mexican restaurant located in Ossian, Indiana. The name of the establishment points to hearts that are deeply invested in the restaurant.
As the Martinezes say to everyone, “mi casa es tu casa” translates “my house is your house,” and that is exactly what you will experience while dining at Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant. Christian and Heather pride themselves on their reputation for amazing hospitality and excellent service, as well as award-winning food.
Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant opened in September of 2014. The inside of the restaurant has the look and feel of an authentic Mexican home. Christian and Heather’s passion for bringing their restaurant vision to life shines through with the color choices and unique décor.
You can sense the amount of time and energy that went into making the restaurant so inviting—the atmosphere creates a feeling of warmth and peacefulness when you enter. Growing up, Christian sat beside his mother and watched her cook meals and soaked in the cooking “legacy” she passed on to him. The memory from childhood brings a smile to his face.
Mi Casa’s recipes are tried and true—authentic. They have been passed down from older generations and will be passed on to future generations for years to come. The restaurant menu holds special meaning, as well. Several entrées are named after family members, including Kaylee, Martha, Mario, Donlupe and Lalo.
Chips and salsa are traditional favorites, along with the white queso dip and guacamole. But, these are just the intro to an amazing meal ahead.
There are so many delicious options, it’s hard to choose. But, no matter what you’re in the mood for, your meal is guaranteed to be pleasing and filling—the portions are large, and you’ll never walk away hungry.
The restaurant also offers featured entrees, as well as featured drinks, on Friday and Saturday. The best-selling drink, of course, is the Famous Margarita. The top-selling entrees are Managers Special and the Burrito Mi Casa.
Mi Casa can accommodate groups for graduation parties, Christmas parties, etc., but these must be booked in advance due to the limited space available. Group reservations ensure a cozy atmosphere—and, that all guests can be attended to before they have the chance to ask for a refill.
Prior to opening Mi Casa, Christian had been worked in the food industry since 2001. Many diners in the southern part of Adams County would recognize him—he managed El Carreton Mexican Restaurant in Berne, Indiana for several years.
Offering excellent service is important to Christian. He says he most enjoys “making people feel happy and at home, learning what they like, and bringing it to them before they even ask.” He adds, “Building friendships is what makes me feel happy and brings me true joy. I like to spoil my customers.”
Heather joined Christian shortly after the restaurant opening. She had worked at Christian Care Retirement Center for 10 years, taking on many different roles there, including cook. With her background, she was a perfect fit at the restaurant.
Heather and Christian each have a variety of responsibilities at Mi Casa. The restaurant receives three deliveries a week, and there is bookwork, ordering, and inventory to be done, along with putting away supplies. They help with cooking and waiting on customers—and making sure all is running smoothly.
The dedication of Mi Casa’s staff speaks volumes about the restaurant’s owners. Amazingly, Christian and Heather have retained the same waitstaff since their grand opening. Such retention is uncommon and suggests the owners are highly-skilled in operating their business.
During Ossian’s Revitalization Days, Mi Casa was presented with a Business of the Year award. And, in 2016, the restaurant’s Guacamole Casero Dip was recognized by the Fort Wayne News Sentinel as one of the top appetizers in Northeast Indiana.
By the way, the award-winning dip is a must-try when dining at Mi Casa. It is one of my favorites—they’ve got just the right combination of secret ingredients to make this a delicious dish.
When Christian and Heather have free time, they both enjoy spending time with their daughter, Kaylee (13). She and her dad love going bowling and hanging out together. Kaylee and her mom, of course, love to go shopping together.
Heather and Christian also enjoy working out and staying in shape. Heather is a Beachbody coach, as well, offering Shakeology and coaching advice to those looking for a healthier future. At the restaurant, Heather even incorporated a special menu for more health-conscious.
Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant
1140 Dehner Drive
Ossian, IN 46777