Valley City’s Another Time restaurant will soon serve authentic and homemade Mexican food from owner and head cook Abel Turrubiates.
Turrubiates, a native-born Mexican, said he will eventually call his restaurant Mi Pueblito, which means “my little town.”
“The reason I call it my little town, is Valley City is a little town, and I have my children who live here, and I thought of adopting his little town as ‘my little town,’” he said.
Turrubiates took over the business from former owner Tanya Hurlimann, who recently decided to move to Florida.
“This is kind of what I wanted to do, but I wasn’t thinking it was going to be this fast,” Turrubiates said. “So it was just an opportunity that happened, and my dream was to have a Mexican restaurant.”
He hopes to serve his customers homemade and authentic Mexican food while having some fun and educating his customers on Mexican culture.
“I want to make this restaurant a little bit different than other restaurants, because we want to, in a way, serve the people but educate them on the way that Mexican food is served,” he said.
He said a lot of restaurants serve food with a side of chips and bowl of salsa, but traditionally, the salsa should be served to match the food.
“It’s like a wine versus food — you have to have a certain salsa with a certain dish,” he said. “It’s kind of fun — you get to show them the salsa that goes with the food, and at the same time you’re kind of educating that part of your culture.”
The menu will feature authentic and homemade Mexican cuisine, including salsas, beans and rice. Some special items served will be carne guisada tacos, which are served with a secret gravy, fajita tacos and jalisco tacos, which are prime rib tacos.
“Since this is such a small place, we’re trying to give you the authentic taste of the real rice and the real refried beans,” Turrubiates said.
On Saturday evenings, the restaurant will serve “passport to Mexico” dishes, which consist of five entrees, all highlighting food from a particular part of the country.
The menu will show pictures of the items, “so you can actually see what you’re going to get into,” Turrubiates said. He thanks his friend from church Michael Roettger for helping design the menu.
Until Turrubiates has everything ready to go, the restaurant will continue to serve from its existing menu, which includes pitas and cold and grilled sandwiches. Once the new Mexican menu is ready, Turrubiates expects that he will not serve from the existing menu. He does not know an exact date when the menu will change.
But customers can get a taste of Mexican now with the breakfast menu that is being served.
A native-born Mexican, Turrubiates has a passion for cooking that runs in his family.
“We were a family of cooks. My grandmother and my mother and my aunt started as home cooks and then they worked for restaurants. I created my mom’s food, and then I started having to learn my own food, because I wasn’t always by mom all the time, so I had to learn my way,” he said.
Turrubiates, who plays bass guitar in the gospel band at First Baptist Church, says his passion for cooking and passion for music are one in the same.
“I’m a musician, and when you put your passion into it, then it’s just natural,” he said. “The food is the same thing — like a performance sort of thing.”
Turrubiates said within the next year, he will start to repair and remodel the building, which is an old home converted to a restaurant, but it’s already been freshly decorated, thanks to three ambitious Valley City women.
Kay Kringlie, who met Turrubiates in the grocery store when his purchase of Mexican Coke sparked a conversation between them, said she, Mary Ann Sheets and Sharon Buhr helped decorate the restaurant with Mexican decorations, many of which were donated by Kringlie.
“I was thrilled to hear that he was going to begin to have authentic Mexican. I wanted to help in any way I could, so I brought down quite a few things,” Kringlie said.
“I taught Spanish at the college for 28 years, so I’ve had lots of travel experience,” she said. “Over the many years, I’ve got a collection and lots of gifts from exchange students.”
Kringle has pottery for sale there too. The proceeds benefit the Valley City State University International fund, and she hopes to give some of the proceeds back to the potters who brought the pottery here during Mexican festivals in the early 2000s.
Turrubiates was born in Tampico Tamaulipas Mexico, where he lived for five years before moving to Guanajuato, Mexico. When he was 9, he moved to Texas, and moved to Valley City five years ago. He and his wife Heidi have four kids.