FARGO-Perla's Fresh Mexican restaurant is now open. This time for good, said General Manager Rob Zastre.
The restaurant that replaced People's Organic Cafe at 2653 45th St. S. initially opened Oct. 24, but was forced to close a week later due to what Zastre explained was an undertrained staff and an overly ambitious menu.
He took over two weeks ago after the original general manager quit. Zastre has worked for more than 27 years in the restaurant and bar industry, including stints managing Buffalo Wild Wings, Granite City and the Blarney Stone.
He knows some people were turned off on their first visit to Perla's, but he's confident he can win them back.
"I would just love people to come in and give us a chance. Take a look. We're under new management now," he said. "Our Facebook comments have started to turn around and we're not even up to my standards yet. My standards are much higher. Once we get there, it's going to be great all the way around."
A new concept
Perla's Fresh Mexican is owned by Charles and Nikki Anderson, the same couple who owned Peoples Organic.
Nikki Anderson said that after running a franchise restaurant where their hands were tied with regard to the menu, decor and overall operations, they looked forward to creating their own concept.
"I've always had a love for Mexican culture and cuisine and have traveled to Mexico dozens of times, always appreciating the delicious food and the friendly, carefree attitude of the people I met," she said. "My intention with Perla's is to create a cheerful, welcoming space that offers our guests a little respite of positive energy and delicious food and drinks, surrounded in the spirit of Mexico."
Zastre described the food as fresh and authentic.
His favorite appetizer is the yucca fries with creamy baja dipping sauce.
"They get really nice and crispy," he said. "They're probably one of the best things I've ever tasted. They have a nice creaminess in the middle and we serve them with our own baja sauce that we make in house."
Entrees include tacos, fajitas and enchiladas. He recommends people try the baja cauliflower tacos.
"It's delicious. It's one of my favorite things, and I love meat," he said.
The restaurant also has a full bar with several brands of premium tequila. Traditional margaritas are available for $3 all day. Other flavors such as blood orange are also available.
The restaurant is equipped with a drive-thru, but Zastre said it will remain closed while they concentrate on getting the restaurant up to speed.
What: Perla's Fresh Mexican
Where: 2653 45th St. S., Fargo
Contact: (701) 356-6454
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday