YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – There are plenty of Mexican restaurants to choose from in the Valley but one has been right here in Youngstown for almost 30 years.
Casa Ramirez is a family-owned business that has been on the city’s west side since 1992.
“It is important for the people in this area to recognize that the Spanish community is very important in this area and we’ve been trying to do as much good as we can for the community,” said Carlos Ramirez, owner of Casa Ramirez Mexican Restaurant.
After he was laid off from working on railroads in 1981, Ramirez began working in a Mexican club in Youngstown. He said that’s where he got the idea to open his own restaurant.
“When the recession in the area started, all the mills closing down, and a lot of businesses closing down, and people moving out of the city and stuff like that. So it was very difficult in the whole area to find jobs,” he said.
Coming from Mexico, Ramirez said food is a part of his culture. He said the types of dishes they serve are the same dishes you can find in his hometown — a town he is proud to represent with a custom mural in the restaurant.
The painting reflects the neighborhood his wife grew up in and the town he is from as well. It also shows other well-known landmarks in Mexico.
“I grew up in Mexico until I was 20 years old and then I moved to the United States…In my wife’s town where there was a little boy, he knew how to play the guitar,” he said.
Ramirez said there is not a large Mexican population in this area, but he hopes more will come to his business to try his authentic food and see pictures and items from back home.
“Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, those are the — like I told many people many times, those are the type of meals that we used to eat ourselves in Mexico as snacks at the end of the day,” he said.
Ramirez said he takes pride in serving authentic, original recipes. The restaurant also caters to vegetarians.
“We try to stay with what we think is most popular where we come from,” he said.
Casa Ramirez is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday from 2 to 10 p.m.
Ramirez said as long as people keep coming, they plan to stay in the area and serve the community they have been a part of for decades.