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Dreaming of real Mexican cooking? Hyrum restaurant could make you happy

October 3rd, 2009 Posted in Business

By Heidi Hansen

HYRUM — Oso Feliz (Happy Bear) Mexican Restaurant opened its doors Thursday, welcoming people in for a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine and providing Hyrum with its only sit-down restaurant.

“Just come try it. We’re here to make you happy,” owner Dave Wurst said Friday.

The dining space where Wurst and his fiancée, Christina Costello, sit discussing their vision for their restaurant is small, but their hopes are not. They eventually plan to add a balcony area to the current location and open locations in Smithfield and Bear Lake, Wurst said.

Decorated with a cabin feel, one area is made of logs and displays miniature sombreros and dolls and blankets from Mexico. The walls display a mural painted by a local artist of a forested bear scene, Wurst said.

The restaurant is located on a corner lot at the end of Main Street in Hyrum, across from the Elite Dance Hall. Once a Sinclair gas station, the building has been through many hands, most recently Wurst’s as a bakery, he said.

Wurst said that after his bakery didn’t work out, he went to work the night-shift at JBS-Swift; this is where he met Costello. Together, they went to Pheonix, Arizona looking for work, but found it difficult and so came back to Hyrum with the idea of opening their own restaurant, said Wurst.

“We don’t eat out. Cache Valley has the worst food in my opinion,” said Wurst.

However, Costello, who is originally from Durango, Mexico and was taught to cook by her mother, said she loves to cook, though sometimes it’s hard. Currently, Costello is doing all the cooking for the restaurant, she said.

Popular menu items on opening day were enchiladas and chiles rellenos, said Costello, adding that these two items take the longest to make. Tacos were also popular, she said.

Every Wednesday at Oso Feliz tacos lenjua (tongue) will be on sale for .75 cents and Costello said she will be making a different special plate every day. She said she would like to make things like Mexican spaghetti and green salsa, and for the weekend menudo.

Costello said she plans to add a drink called champurrado (a Mexican hot chocolate drink) to the menu in the winter and begin making her own tamales there as well.

Costello said she is making her own tortillas and chips for the restaurant and pointed out that many Mexican restaurants simply buy these in big bags.

“Other places are not real Mexican food. There is something wrong with it, they are not using the right spices or something,” Costello said to describe the difference between her food and the many chain Mexican restaurants in Cache Valley.

Though they’ve just begun, Wurst and Costello have more plans for their restaurant as well. They said they plan to go to Mexico soon and bring back Mexican blankets to sell inside.

Wurst said they are getting most of their food supplies from RSM Food Service in Logan. Wursts said it can be very hard to find Mexican products. He said for example that they had wanted a special kind of cheese, but cannot find it anywhere in the U.S. He said to sell Mexican sodas they have to order all the way from California.

Wurst’s mother and niece are currently helping out in the restaurant waiting tables, and Costello is training other to help her cook.

When asked if he did any research before opening the restaurant, Wurst replied that he “just did it,” echoing an earlier sentiment he had for people to “just try it.”

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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