With roots in Guatamala, owner Tony Juker knew exactly what he wanted out of life – to own his own restaurant. Although reaching his goal was less than direct and learning to cook was even more of a challenge, he opened his own café in the downtown Lewisburg district in 1994.
He’s come a long way in the last 20-plus years. What began as a coffee shop has evolved into a contemporary, local hangout that serves not-so-traditional Latin cuisine. Although his own tenacity has a lot to do with the popularity of his restaurant, he prefers to give wife Katherine, good friends and subscriptions to Bon Apetit and Gourmet magazines much of the credit.
He admits it’s been an evolutionary process mixed with a lot of trial and error. However, what hasn’t changed are the fresh, made-from-scratch ingredients infused with his signature Spanish style. Lunch and dinner staples include thin-crust pizzas, tofu tacos and loaded nachos, with specials such as fresh trout, chipotle garlic mashed potatoes and collard greens rounding out the menu.
Of course, Tony’s artistic prowess doesn’t end in the kitchen. Del Sol margaritas and seasonally-inspired craft cocktails have something of a cult following. One of the restaurant’s house drinks, the Angry Margarita, was discovered on a visit to New York City. With decades of experience now under his belt, Tony notes, “The key to any good margarita is simplicity and fresh ingredients, and this margarita has just the right balance.” We think that can be said for Tony as well.
Ingredients (single serving)
1 Fresh jalapeno, deseeded
½ oz Simple syrup
½ oz Fresh squeezed lime juice
2 oz Jose Cuervo Silver
1 oz Cointreau
1. Add simple syrup, fresh lime juice and jalapeno to rock glass.
TIP: To make your own simple syrup, combine equal parts water and sugar. Slowly simmer to reduce.
2. Gently muddle the jalapeno to release some of the spices.
TIP: Gentle means gentle. If your drink is too spicy, you weren’t gentle enough.
3. Add ice, Jose Cuervo Silver and Cointrea. Shake vigorously.
NOTE: For a smooth margarita, Tony recommends Jose Cuervo Silver. It’s distilled white tequila so it includes no subtle flavoring to throw off the taste.
4. Rim a new rock glass with kosher salt and ice.
5. Using a strainer to leave ice and jalapeno behind, pour contents into salted glass.
6. Garnish with a fresh slice of jalapeno.