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Focus Stories

El Paso Mexican Grill

by Amy Nichol Smith

Featured Photo from El Paso  Mexican Grill

In 2016, Beatriz Gilmore moved to the Sanford area to open the family-owned El Paso Mexican Grill. Ironically, Sanford wasn’t her first choice, but it has become her best choice.

Originally, Beatriz, who has been in the restaurant business for nearly 20 years, wanted to open a Mexican restaurant in Houston, Texas, but then she heard about the little town of Sanford.

“Our goal is to bring jobs to small communities where they’re needed,” Beatriz says, “and I noticed that Sanford didn’t have many restaurants.”

She immediately fell in love with the community and believed it was a place where she could help. It was also an opportunity to bring authentic Mexican food to the town’s culinary mix.

Chefs at El Paso Mexican Grill hail from Central Mexico, and they attended Mexican culinary schools. The restaurant’s spices, ingredients, and recipes are all authentically Mexican, so you get the real flavor of Mexican food, not an interpretation.

The menu is packed with Mexican delights and a few Tex-Mex specialties. From tacos and enchiladas to carne asada and carnitas, everything is made to order. Ceviche isn’t sitting in a refrigerator already prepared – it’s all fresh.

“Every morning, we are frying the chips,and making the salsa. Beans are soaking in water all night and then rinsed three times in the morning,” says Beatriz.

“Nearly everything here is made fresh – and nothing is ever frozen.”

Fresh is the only way El Paso Mexican Grill does it, and it’s the way Beatriz prefers. She grew up in Mexico, but she’s lived in many other countries and has worked with her family in their   restaurant businesses.

“I love to learn about people and their culture,” she says.

After some time in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, Beatriz moved to Alabama for more restaurant experience. Finally, she found herself in Sanford.

“I love to participate with the Sanford community,” she says. “Sanford is growing, and I’m enjoying it. I love it.”


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