A pinch of this, dash of that
Where do you go to get a tray of take-out tamales or a great burrito made entirely fresh ingredients? To the Conoco gas station in Fraser, of course. Julio Arreguin and his family have been serving up fresh, inexpensive burritos and tamales in Fraser for more than three years now at Fraser Deli & Mexican Grille – and it’s one of the town’s best (if not so well-kept) secrets. Now, Julio is opening a full restaurant. Julio’s Seafood & Grille, located in the Silverado II, will hold its grand opening Dec. 10-12.Julio, who moved to the Fraser Valley from Orange County, Calif., said he got his start working in huge restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory in Southern California. He later managed the Rainforest Caf at Disneyland where they sold $7,000 worth of food each hour, he said. But, his real dream was to have his own restaurant. A friend who lived in Kremmling suggested that he try the Fraser Valley where, at the time, there was only one Mexican restaurant. He moved his family, including wife Janet, his mother and “only” four kids: Axel, 16; Cesar, 8; Julie, 6; and Camille, 3 to Colorado. “I like living up here. The people are nice, mellow,” he said. Now that he has a good reputation and following, Julio said he’s ready to branch out into a format that will give him more flexibility to create interesting dishes and offer more choices. The space at Silverado II offers a dining room, a full commercial kitchen, a 3,000-square-foot conference room and a bar owned and operated by the homeowner’s association.The bar is adding a full line-up of Mexican beers and margaritas to accompany Julio’s menu. The new restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, offering a variety of dishes – and not just Mexican food. The menu has plenty of fresh Mexican food to offer, including a Mexican pizza, tortas, tacos, burritos, huevos rancheros, and even horchata, which is a Mexican drink made with rice, milk, cinnamon and vanilla.But there will also be some all-American classics like hot wings, filet mignon, cheeseburgers, biscuits and gravy and a Philly cheese steak. Seafood will be the restaurant’s specialty item – the menu includes a sesame seared ahi tuna over mixed greens appetizer, fish tacos and blackened tilapia and grilled salmon with spicy mango glaze. In keeping with tradition, all Julio’s dishes will be prepared with fresh ingredients. Meals range in price from $5.99 for a breakfast burrito to $16.99 for the halibut steak. Julio’s also offers daily specials, giving him the opportunity to experiment and create new and interesting dishes, like the one he whipped up spontaneously for a photo shoot that included grilled halibut and chorizo sausage on a bed of Spanish rice and rice pilaf with sauted spinach (which tasted oh-so-good) or his chili-lime tilapia topped with ranchero sauce. Julio said that the secrets to success are his good prices and devoted customers. “You’ve got to keep the locals happy,” he said. To that end, he will always offer a 10 percent local discount, he said, and he will make his dishes “any way you want it.” Want to substitute? “No problem.”Julio said the 20 or so tables in the dining area is a perfect size: “I would rather have a few tables and see everybody leave happy,” he said. The biggest challenge, Julio said, will be letting people know the restaurant is there. But, he feels positive that if he serves good food, people will come. Julio’s Seafood and Grille is open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and the bar is open from 4-9 p.m. nightly.And, fear not loyal fans of Julio’s burritos – Fraser Deli & Mexican Grille will continue to be open daily, with Julio’s mom and wife running the show. Folks who are interested in ordering tamales for Christmas, Julio said, should get their requests in early for pickup on Christmas Eve. Julio’s family makes thousands of Christmas tamales every year, he said, including sweet tamales, pork, chicken, red sauce, green sauce and mole.”It’s a great Mexican, Christmas tradition,” he said.
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