In October, Stoughton gained a second Mexican restaurant.
La Cantina opened at 620 Nygaard St., and owner Reyes Aranda said he will use his experience to bring tasty burritos, enchiladas, seafood and carne asada tacos to the community.
When patrons enter the building, they are greeted by staff who stand in front of brightly colored red walls. The paintings throughout the restaurant reflect traditional Mexican history, including pieces by the famous painter Frida Kahlo.
Aranda said his parents and uncle are all restaurant owners. Having lived in Guanajuato, Mexico, until he was 16, he uses old family recipes to create authentic Mexican dishes.
Aranda owns six restaurants. Three are in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, one is in Deforest and one is in Portage, which he opened 15 years ago.
Customer service, cooking and restaurant management are “what I know,” he said.
Aranda said Stoughton seemed like a good location to open another restaurant because of the business growth on the west side of the city.
He is living in Stoughton and cooks in La Catina’s kitchen. Once he feels comfortable that all the kinks are worked out at his newest restaurant venture, he said, he will go back to Iron Mountain, Michigan, where his wife and children are.
Gerardo Porras, the general manager, lives just down the road from the restaurant. He said the people of Stoughton are very welcoming. Every day, when he walks to work neighbors and customers greet and wave to Porras.
“The people of Stoughton are excellent,” Porras said through translation. “They know what they like — American football and beer.”
Porras has known Aranda since 1998 and been working in restaurants since then. When he manages a team, his philosophy is to take care of the wait staff, because they will in turn take care of the patrons.
He wants the staff to reflect the clean, welcoming city Stoughton is, he said.