By Tommy Clarkson from the June 2014 Edition
The Number “Juan” Restaurant in Manzanillo
My wife, Patty, says that a business has “arrived” when folks answer a query for direction with something like this, “The place you are looking for is two blocks south of Juanito’s.”
Indeed, Juanito’s Restaurant is such an eatery of renown!
Upon arriving there, chances are that you will be greeted by the large and gregarious Juanito himself – as the family tradition is that he or an immediate family member is on site virtually all of the time that it is open in order to ensure the service and food is perfect. Obviously, he, his wife Esperanza, daughter Susan or nephew Thomas may generally be found at the cash register or walking among the customers making them feel welcome. They are all totally committed to ensuring that their prompt, efficient and friendly service fully complements the restaurant’s fine variety of meals offered throughout the day.
Owned and operated by John and Esperanza Corey, their place is the perfect culmination of environment, atmosphere, great service, fair prices and superlative food. And, perhaps better than any other eating establishment in the entirety of Manzanillo, they have effectively captivated the textbook amalgam of locals, tourists, snow birds and full-time ex-pats in their customer base!
Jovial, kind and caring, John – born in Mexico City but returned to Gringolandia for education – came back to Manzanillo in 1970. He and Esperanza – she, by the way, is one of the nicest ladies and a most superlative gourmet cooks around – were married in 1972.
Their children Enrique, Carlos and Susan were born in 1973, 1974 and 1977 respectively with all three ultimately “doing their time” in the Corey’s first restaurant. La Hamburguesia, and then Juanitos, which they started in 1976. (Carlos now has his own “Juanitos Express” restaurant near the Holiday Inn in the port area.)
As loyal to their staff as they are their customers, many of their team have worked with them for many years – and it shows in the friendly, personalized service. They, under John’s watchful eye, often endeavor to sit gringos/Canadians next to locals thus, inevitably, starting up great cross-cultural conversations.
But what good is a restaurant without good food? Well, there is no lack of that here! An array of excellent choices – both local fare or pure Americana – are available.
For desayuno start with, perhaps, the best freshly ground coffee in the city and/or just squeezed fruit juice. Then choose from a variety of fried and scrambled eggs – my favorite is juevos divorciados – divorced eggs with green and red sauce, chilaquiles, frijoles and a toasted bolillo. Quadruple Yum! Patty generally enjoys the pancakes with an egg and bacon. But choose for yourself from the over a score and a half of wonderful selections.
Now for Comida one perhaps you might wish to go traditional with a Tampico style beef filet with enchilada or have one of those famous Juanitos Especial Burgers con papas (French fries). They also offer a variety of other delicious entrees ranging from a club sandwich or Cuban torta, through red or green enchiladas with chicken or cheese, jerked beef with eggs, Bar B Q pork ribs, tostados with chicken or pork, and fresh shrimp in any manner you choose to crispy chicken tacos – and a wide range of selections in between!
I am thoroughly sated just writing about and remembering the many fine meals I have had there!
Juanitos Restaurant – “The number “Juan” restaurant in town!”
Blvd. Miguel de la Madrid km. 14,
Phone: (314) 333 1388
Tommy Clarkson is a bit of a renaissance man. He’s lived and worked in locales as disparate as the 1.2 square mile island of Kwajalein to war-torn Iraq, from aboard he and Patty’s boat berthed out of Sea Bright, NJ to Thailand, Germany, Hawaii and Viet Nam; He’s taught classes and courses on creative writing and mass communications from the elementary grades to graduate level; He’s spoken to a wide array of meetings, conferences and assemblages on topics as varied as Buddhism, strategic marketing and tropical plants; In the latter category he and Patty’s recently book, “The Civilized Jungle” – written for the lay gardener – has been heralded as “the best tropical plant book in the last ten years”; And, according to Trip Advisor, their spectacular tropical creation - Ola Brisa Gardens – is the “Number One Tour destination in Manzanillo”.