Diners at Plaza Azteca know that the guacamole is fresh because it’s made right before their eyes. “Our server wheels a cart tableside with avocados and all of the optional ingredients,” said General Manager Edy Barahona. “Our guests can choose what they want in it and just how spicy they’d like it. We use a traditional stone bowl from Mexico, called a ‘molcajete,’ which really does make a difference in the authentic flavor.” Lots of restaurants claim to be authentic, but this one walks the walk. Even the salsas and tortillas are handmade from scratch in the kitchen.
Plaza Azteca was founded in 1994, in Virginia Beach, by two gentlemen from Jalisco, Mexico. There are now 48 locations in five states(Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Connecticut). The one in Pittsburgh will celebrate its first year in business in May. “We have been well-received here in Pittsburgh,” Barahona said. “Our customers are the most important thing. We take the time to prepare their food just to their liking. For example, if they aren’t sure how hot they’d like their salsa, the server will bring three different variations to the table for them to taste. If one thing sets us apart, it is our quality. We buy the freshest, best ingredients that we can find. Also, our portions are generous. Nobody leaves hungry.”
"We buy the freshest, best ingredients that we can find. Also, our portions are generous. Nobody leaves hungry.”
The menu is extensive. In addition to sizzling fajitas, burritos, enchiladas and quesadillas, steak and seafood lovers will not be disappointed. Molcajete Azteca is labeled as a traditional feast for all. The hot stone bowls are filled with rib-eye steak, chicken, shrimp, poblano peppers, onions, chunks of pineapple and homemade salsa, topped with cheese and served with jasmine rice, beans and flour tortillas. Pescado Azteca marries shredded Mahi-Mahi fillet with fresh grilled shrimp, mushrooms, spinach and roasted peppers in white wine sauce. The OMG Nachos showcase a tempting mixture of chicken, chorizo sausage and bacon. There are actually 25 different Margaritas from which to choose.
Barahona is a native of Honduras and has been with the company for seven years. “Our employees are well taken care of. Happy employees are good for business. You don’t have to be from Mexico to work here. Everyone is well-trained and understands that our goal is to satisfy every customer with authentic food and excellent service.”