For several years Marlem Power’s Mexican dishes were a popular attraction at the Belleville Waterfront & Ethnic Festival.
“The customers were always asking me ‘Where can I get your food?” Power said with a smile.
There wasn’t a place to purchase the authentic Mexican specialties, as she was just an individual vendor contributing to the festival.
Power took the feedback she received and used it as motivation to open a Mexican restaurant in Downtown Belleville. She now runs Chilangos, at 394 Front St., with her brother Abraham Ramos.
The restaurant opened for customers on March 7 and held a grand opening celebration on Wednesday, March 16, a day that happened to be Power’s 35th birthday.
The menu features many items that fans of Mexican food would expect, gluten-free tortillas, steak, chorizo tacos and enchiladas.
“We have very traditional homemade recipes”Power said.
“They’ve been passed down from my grandmother to my mother.”
The business venture is an exciting opportunity for the two siblings who were born and grew up in Mexico and moved to Canada as young adults.
They began working on a business plan about three years ago and are confident they’ll be successful, as there is currently no other authentic Mexican restaurant in Belleville.
The feedback they’ve received so far from customers has been very positive.
“We’re getting ‘five stars’ on our Facebook page” Power said, stressing that the food is as authentic as you would find in her native Mexico City. “Everyone has been giving us great reviews.”
Ramos added, “We’re excited to be here in Belleville. It’s going to work out well.”
The name Chilangos is in reference to their native city of Mexico City. A slang word for a Mexico City resident is Chilango, Power explained.