RUSK — Mexican restaurant La Charra has a lot to celebrate these days.
On Thursday, the restaurant threw a big party for the community to celebrate the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, its second anniversary and a ribbon cutting as a new member of the Rusk Chamber of Commerce.
Esmeralda Palos and her husband Alejandro de la Cruz have always dreamed of opening their own restaurant. The couple started serving tables and cooking at another Mexican restaurant in downtown Rusk. This restaurant eventually closed and the couple decided it was the perfect time to make their dream come true.
La Charra opened in mid-September 2020 and is the definition of a family business with several family members in various positions.
Palos explained that she wanted to celebrate the restaurant’s first anniversary; however, his family suffered several tragedies during this time.
“My dream was to party after freshman year, but my family and I went through a lot that year,” Palos said. “I lost my brother-in-law and two weeks later my daughter lost her baby. So my plans didn’t go as planned.
A favorite in town, La Charra has received tremendous community support since its opening day two years ago.
“The community has been so kind to us,” Palos said. “I can’t thank my customers enough for loving my food, my family and always supporting my business.”
Rusk’s Chamber of Commerce Leilani Sales said eating at La Charra was like eating with family.
“I think La Charra brings a good sense of ‘home’ to our community. They are a very close-knit and hard-working family themselves; and they make you feel like you’re sitting at your own Abuela (grandmother) or Tia (aunt) dinner table,” Sales said.
Sales said she was glad the restaurant could celebrate in such a fun way.
“I love that they are celebrating their second anniversary in such a fun way. All small businesses should be celebrating their milestones,” she said. “And for a small business like La Charra to get off to a successful start during a pandemic and getting through it; a job slump and food inflation without feeling defeated, exhausted or wanting to throw in the towel shows their incredible tenacity to swing the odds around.
New House Speaker Cord Stover said the restaurant was a welcome change from restaurants in the city.
“They bring variety to a city full of burgers. A small family restaurant and popular are the places that support the community,” he said. “The big conglomerates don’t always give back because they’re not in touch with the locals.”
Palos said she loves celebrating the launch of Hispanic Heritage Month and has big plans for the restaurant in the future.
“It’s great to be able to celebrate this anniversary during Hispanic Heritage Month; I love it,” she said. “My dream is to expand my restaurant and bring live music once a month and have fun with the community.”
The celebration included free local dishes like queso with beef and homemade pies, a bouncing house, the ribbon cutting, specials and the Mariachi band Nuevo Imperio who traveled from Houston to perform.
La Charra Mexican Restaurant is located at 184 East 6th Street in Rusk and can be reached at (903) 683-6383.
For more information, visit the Mexican restaurant La Charra’s Facebook page.