There’s a new Paleo restaurant in town! Well, not really new or Paleo, but owner Flora Valle, will cook to order, almost anything, to meet your Paleo needs!
This past Friday (3.18.11), the Paleo Lifestyle Revolution Staff, visited Las Bonitas Restaurant – Serving Southwestern and Mexican Cuisine, 917 Florida Avenue, Hemet Ca, 92543 (951) 652-4459. What we found, was great made to order (exactly how we like it) Paleo style food.
Hours of operation: Open 7 days a week. Serving breakfast, lunch & dinner. M-F 10am-8pm, Sat 8am-8pm, Sunday 8am-3pm. Closed most major Holidays. Dine in or carry out. They accept phone in orders and offer catering services.
This restaurant is very quaint and simple, offering table and chair seating for about 40 customers. Tables seat mid-size groups of 6 to 8, and then there are a few 4-seat and 2-seat tables. Seating is conventional and comfortable. They also have an out-door patio area, so you can catch the great weather and enjoy the warm spring days outside if you wish. Their service is fantastic! Your food is ordered at the front counter, and the staff brings the food to your table once it’s prepared and cooked. They pride themselves making sure you are enjoying their food and service.
Following is the interview I had with Flora Valle , Las Bonitas owner operator.
How long has your restaurant been in business?
8 years in May. I closed my larger restaurant & re-opened here at this location on December 9th, 2010. My restaurant has been in “Best of the Best in the Inland Empire” magazine. We love this location as it is central to downtown Hemet and offers easy in and out off Florida avenue.
What was the inspiration behind starting your restaurant?
I was in commercial real estate for several years and would find buildings for my clients so they could open restaurants. My own daughter finally convinced me to open my own restaurant, and here I am. I’m a people person and became board with my real estate so this was a logical step for me. I love creating and cooking.
What are your future plans for your restaurant?
I’m in the process up upgrading the building. A little needed work and some cosmetic work. I have plans for some new menu items that I hope to release soon. I’ve had people tell me I need to franchise or open a second restaurant, but I’m simply working hard to make this restaurant successful and meet my customer’s needs.
How did you establish your price points?
When I opened the restaurant, I worked to provide large portions, at a very affordable price. I checked around to see what other restaurants were charging and set my prices appropriately. I have incorporated Wednesday and & Friday specials that are great deals. My prices are not .99, like some places, but my meals have higher quality “real food” ingredients! More of a portion-to-value menu. I also offer items that are not listed on the menu. Items that my regulars know I server and they simply come in and special order these items. It’s also important to note that the cost of raw goods has sky rocketed and I have worked hard to maintain my prices. With the economy as bad as it is, it’s important for me to help out anyway I can. So this is the one way I’m able to help the community, by providing great meals, with higher quality ingredients, at low prices.
How is your restaurant working to prepare and offer healthier food and item selection?
I have always worked to accommodate anyone with what ever they want within reason. I can make anything off my menu, or my special order items, anyway the customer chooses. Me and my staff are real flexible and accommodating that way.
How do you prepare your traditional meals?
Traditionally, here we prepare beef, chicken and shrimp fajitas, carne asada, chili rellenos, ceviche, and fish tacos very simply. We use higher quality meats than most of the other mexican restaurants. All of our meat is seasoned and charbroiled separately in the morning, then stored refrigerator until it’s ordered. Once ordered, when we place it on the grill, we use butter (mix of margarine and canola oil) on the grill to help the meat not to stick while it’s cooking. We then splash some soy sauce and seasoning on the meat and fish as it is cooking on the grill. All of our main dishes come with rice and beans.
Moving more towards Paleo (meat and veggies) which is what our CrossFit by BodyFit and Paleo LifeStyle Revolution group is very interested in. Define items off your menu or “special order items” that meet the Paleo Diet (probably meat & veggies) and how can you alter your preparation for the meat and veggies to meet our communities needs?
For the healthier (or Paleo) food you mention, we can prepare it anyway you like it. The meat will already be seasoned and charbroiled and stored as noted above. However, when we place it on the grill, any of the meat can be grilled in water instead of butter. We can forego adding any soy sauce and can even hold back on any additional seasoning if you would like. We can eliminate the beans and rice and replace with fresh grilled veggies (cut carrots, broccoli & peppers). And of course the veggies can be cooked on the grill in water, not butter. For our fish tacos, we will grill the fish, not batter and fry it and place in a lettuce wrap with pico-de-gallo, fresh shredded cabbage and guacamole. For our chili rellenos, we can also add in scrambled eggs cooked to order (no butter) of course! We also offer a great fresh shrimp ceviche and fresh homemade salsa!
Man all this is making my mouth water! So where do you purchase your meat and produce from?
We purchase both our meat and produce from a wholesale distributer out of Los Angeles – Tapia Wholesale. They provide us with super fresh meat and vegetables! We have shopped around and we feel, by far, they offer the highest quality food at wholesale.
Maybe our group can establish a Paleo Style menu specific to our members Paleo needs? Are you open for something like that?
Sure. I’m really open for anything. Anyway to make the food better and healthier for your group. I can’t say that my traditional customers would like it, but who knows? Just keep in mind, that you can have your meals prepared anyway you want, you just have to specifically tell us, when you order. Also, the more your group comes in and orders this way, our staff and cooks will get use to cooking this way!
Can we call ahead and place our order… modified to the way we like it?
Sure, that’s no problem at all. We take call in orders all the time!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Please keep in mind that I do catering. Parties, events, large small and cooked the way you want it! We are also open for breakfast and will cook your breakfast any way you want it, you just have to be specific when ordering.
Well Flora it was great speaking with you. Thanks for taking the time to fill us in on all the specifics of your restaurant. We look forward to eating and ordering Paleo food at your restaurant!
Here’s some pics of the interior space and patio
Front Counter & Entry
Front Counter & Menus
Outdoor Patio Area
Here’s some pics of the meals we ordered at Las Bonitas
Chicken Fajitas & Veggies
Grilled Fish Tacos in Lettuce Wraps
Carne Asada with grilled veggies