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Popular Louisville Restaurant Serves Up Truly Authentic Mexican Cuisine

Photography provided

When Rene Hernandez Cortez was 16 years old, he began working at a Mexican restaurant in Danville, Kentucky. Though it started out as a simple way to earn a few bucks, it didn’t take long for Rene to recognize that he felt a calling in the restaurant industry.

“I was helping out my older brother when he was a dishwasher,” recalls Rene, who soaked in the atmosphere of restaurant life. Being a part of the hustle and bustle, as well as inhaling all of the delicious aromas that filled the kitchen as the chefs cooked, Rene found himself looking forward to going to work.

“It was then when I started to develop an interest in the restaurant industry and began to want to learn more,” he says.

A fire was lit within him, and at home Rene experimented in the kitchen, testing out different flavors and concoctions, whipping up impromptu meals and snacks for family and friends. His passion for cooking was something that every recipient’s taste buds greatly appreciated. Time and again, he received compliments from all who sampled his dishes. They all told him that the meals he served were perfect and flavorful. After a while, Rene began to dream of one day opening a restaurant where daily he could delight his patrons with his masterful culinary skills.

Fifteen years later, his dream became a reality when Rene opened the Mayan Latin Cuisine in LaGrange, Kentucky. In April 2019, he moved the restaurant to Louisville and changed the name to Las Margaritas Mexican Cuisine.

“I just love seeing people enjoy my authentic recipes and reading all the wonderful reviews they give us,” Rene says. “Honestly, just having a smile on my customers’ faces at the end of the day is what satisfies me the most.”

Any restaurant owner will attest that working in the industry is incredibly difficult and that it takes a motivated, determined, energetic individual to make it work, but Rene is consistently up for any challenge that is thrown his way.

“I think there isn’t a challenge that I’m not willing to take on and resolve myself,” he says. “There is always a solution to each problem we overcome every day.”

One way he ensures running a successful business is by hiring kind, responsible, reliable staff as that’s essential to a profitable business model. So is providing excellent customer service. And then, of course, there’s the explosion of delicious taste. Restaurants can only thrive if the food and beverages are consistently top-notch, such is the case at Las Margaritas.

Rene says that diners appreciate the real authentic Mexican flavors as well as the fact that Las Margaritas is more of a high-end restaurant that offers fresh, exotic, unique recipes.

“The food is really good,” says one loyal diner. “Well above average for this style of cuisine.”

Rene thinks one thing that attracts customers is the noticeable taste difference between Las Margaritas and other Mexican restaurants.

“We offer real authentic food which you can’t find in many places,” Rene says. “A lot of people come in for our Mole Poblano, Cochinita Pibil, Carnitas, Tlayollos, and lastly, our specialty — seafood.”

Las Margaritas Mexican Cuisine also offers original recipes from Mexico such as Pipian con Pollo, tamales, steaks and vegetarian dishes, using fresh, quality ingredients imported from Mexico.

“Also, as an exclusive selection, we have created three different house lime margaritas — Tequila, Mezcal and bourbon margarita,” Rene says.

When he reflects back on his early teenage days in the kitchen, Rene smiles at the thought of how far he has come. And he still feels as if he could pinch himself that his boyhood dream blossomed into a successful reality.

“I remember one day perfectly in my mind when I was at my previous restaurant, The Mayan,” says Rene, noting that he had waited on a lovely older couple during their first time to the establishment. They ordered the Salmon Maya, and after finishing up, the woman approached Rene with tears in her eyes.

“Everything was wonderful,” she said. “I felt like I had a party in my mouth with all of the deliciousness!”

When Rene asked why she was crying, she said it was from the excitement. It seems delicious food and a welcoming atmosphere triggered her in an emotionally positive way.

“It was absolutely fulfilling to hear and see that from someone whom I don’t even know,” Rene says. “It was even more satisfying knowing it was my food that made her react that way.”

Rene, 33, is a single father of two children: Alejandro (12), who lives in Mexico, and Samantha (6), who lives in Louisville. In his free time, he likes to go out for drinks and dancing with friends.

“I love to dance to Latín music,” Rene says. “I also like to play the guitar.”

Rene hopes to continue serving the Louisville area and making his customers salivate in the same glorious way he did for his friends all those years ago.

“I give thanks for this great opportunity that life has given me,” Rene adds. “I am also thankful for all of my loyal friends and family who have supported me on this journey. I want to ask and invite everyone out to taste our authentic food and recipes and to give us a chance. You won’t regret it.”

Like Las Margaritas Mexican Cuisine on Facebook @ Las Margaritas Mexican Cuisine and follow them on Instagram @ las_margaritas_mexican. Las Margaritas Mexican Cuisine is located at 12220 Shelbyville Rd in Louisville. For more information, call 502-963-5503 or visit them online at lasmargaritasmx.com.

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