Celsita’s Serves Up a Taste of Culture, Family & Love

Keeping culture alive with palate-satisfying dishes at Celsita’s.

Photo by Rachel Benavides

Everyone knows the ambiance of a restaurant is an important part of the dining experience. When guests enter Celsita’s restaurant, they’re greeted by a family who enjoys sharing their culture and love of food with each delicious item on the menu. From the owner, Celsa, making tortillas as she greets guests to welcoming decor and vibrant music playing from the speakers, the ambiance conjures up feelings of family coming together to enjoy food, laughter and great company.

The magic began when her grandfather taught an eager 7-year-old Celsa to make an over-easy egg. Growing up with a large family meant numerous get-togethers, and the more time she spent cooking for her family, the more Celsa became comfortable in the kitchen and developed a love for the craft.

Photos by Rachel Benavides

“All my life, I’ve been told that people deserve to taste my cooking, and that I should open a restaurant,” said Celsa. Even though the encouragement poured in, having worked as a server at the age of 16 allowed her to see that opening a restaurant was much more than just serving good food, and she wasn’t sure this was in the cards for her.

When an opportunity presented itself, she still had her doubts, but with the support of her husband, she found herself getting ready to open the doors to Celsita’s, one year later. Her sisters, Janette and Janel, along with Celsa’s children and friends, became the powerhouses behind creating this unique gem on The Island.

The original menu was retooled to add Tex-Mex staples such as chicken fajitas and carne guisada. Eventually, the more traditional dishes began to gain popularity, allowing for the reintroduction of dishes like mole, puerco verde, fideo and tostadas.

Photos by Rachel Benavides

Celsa and Janette collaborate to ensure the best items are on the menu, which changes daily and is decided upon first thing in the morning. “When an item sells out for the day, that’s it until the next time we put it on the menu,” said Celsa. This technique is popular with locals who dine in regularly — not only for the savory delicacies but also the desserts like the galletas de polvorones and the pineapple rum cupcakes.

Celsa proudly looks toward the photo of her grandfather on the wall, and reflects on his influence: “He was my inspiration, and I can now do what I love thanks to everything he taught me and the support I’ve received from the community.” Now, that photo overlooking the kitchen allows her grandfather to watch as his family carries on one of their favorite traditions — cooking with love.

CONTACT:

15401 SPID Ste 105 | 361.244.2625