Alicia Martinez moved to the United States from Mexico around 26 years ago and with her, brought the dream of one day opening her own restaurant, much like the one that her parents operated in her hometown.
She has since worked 17 years in the restaurant industry, gotten married to Paul Harman, with whom she lives with in Highspire, and between them have a mixed family of six children between the ages of 16 and 26.
On Nov. 8, the couple made her dream a reality when they opened MIAA Mexican Bistro at 615 E Main St.
The Bistro serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week and dinner four days a week. It’s open from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Sunday to Tuesday and 8 a.m. until 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Their lunch and dinner menu offers a large variety of Mexican entrees and appetizers. Martinez said that the menu was crafted together by her and their children.
The salsas, particularly the green salsa, and birria, a marinated and slow cooked beef which Martinez described as a delicacy popular in the area of Mexico that she grew up in, are both recipes that come straight from her family’s restaurant. She hopes to promote those two dishes in particular.
The breakfast menu is a mix of typical diner foods like omelettes, eggs sandwiches and skillets with some mexican dishes like breakfast burritos, huevos rancheros and chilaquiles.
“People, they don’t know. When you go to a mexican restaurant, they don’t have breakfast,” Martinez said. “So we want to bring, in Mexico we have breakfast that’s different than here, so we bring four dishes for people to see what is breakfast from Mexico.”
All of their food is freshly prepared, with meats procured from local butchers.
While they hope to eventually obtain a liquor license for the restaurant, it is currently BYOB.
Harman, who works at Fresh Express as a production manager, said they signed the lease on the building back in September. In just over a month, with help from their children, they worked nonstop to transform the floors, bathrooms, kitchen and decorate the whole space into what it is today.
“This is her dream,” he said. “This is all her vision.”
Their combined vision for the future of the restaurant is to be consistent, retain a number of regular customers, and build their reputation in the community.
“And really, promote the Mexican breakfast,” Harman said. “People don’t know what they’re missing, it’s really good.”
Currently with four employees and a lot of help from family, they are still looking to hire servers.
Daniel Larlham Jr. is a reporter for the Lebanon Daily News. Reach him at [email protected] or on X @djlarlham.