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TMCNet:  Mexican restaurant opens downtown

[January 04, 2013]

Mexican restaurant opens downtown

Jan 04, 2013 (Herald-Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Spartanburg residents have long been hoping for a Mexican restaurant downtown. They might get one, soon.

After closing her east-side eatery earlier this year, local restaurateur Rita Roman has put her apron back on to whip up a new concept within one of the city's primary venues for burgeoning artisans and entrepreneurs -- Plaza on Main.



In October, Roman began cooking at the food stand within the 10,000-square-foot facility at 174 E. Main St. after Converse Deli's market stand left. Over the past few months, she has seen her business grow and has started the process of making the move permanent.

Roman, a single mother of Lebanese decent, said the restaurant will feature reasonably priced Mexican/Mediterranean fusion food prepared from fresh, locally acquired ingredients.

"I really just want to have fun with it," Roman said. "I always wanted to be downtown, and through this unique partnership with Plaza on Main, my dream is finally reaching fruition." The businesswoman shuttered her Mediterranean/Latin-inspired eatery Rita's at 1047 Fernwood-Glendale Road in July. Roman opened the restaurant as Mexico Lindo East in 2003, but re-branded the business in 2010.

Although she still is finalizing her plans, Roman said the new eatery could include an array of ice creams, desserts, pastries, gourmet coffee and a free Wi-Fi bar.

Nancy Riehle, director of Plaza on Main, said Roman's restaurant will be the driving force behind a variety of healthy lifestyle offerings over the next few months to help customers keep their New Year's resolutions on track.

"We're extremely happy to have (Roman) here," Riehle said. "Her food is delicious, healthy and exciting. She is a wonderful person, and we think she will be a tremendous asset to us going forward. We feel very lucky." Riehle and Roman said January will be dedicated to helping area residents get fit. Roman will be serving special healthy dishes, and Plaza on Main will host a series of events focused on fitness, including a boot camp.

In February, Plaza on Main will take part in the One Billion Rising movement, with special activities dedicated to raising awareness about violence against women.

"I'm very excited," Roman said. "I get along with everyone here very well. I think it's going to be awesome." Roman currently serves an abbreviated menu of entrees priced at $7.95.

The entrees include a rotisserie chicken salad on a croissant, a mixed green salad with grilled chicken and a Mediterranean plate with hummus, tabouli, eggplant salad and warm pita.

Roman also has a number of sandwiches that come with potato salad, chips and a drink. The sandwiches include an Elvis Presley peanut butter and banana sandwich, smoked turkey with smoked gouda, Angus roast beef with provolone, grilled cheese with tomato, black forest ham and a buffalo chicken wrap. Veggie wraps are available upon request.

On Thursday's, she serves Rita's Baja Taco with rice and beans. Roman also has cheese dip, chips and salsa, and guacamole available. She said she serves soups on cold days and still plans to offer her catering service.

___ (c)2013 the Spartanburg Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, S.C.) Visit the Spartanburg Herald-Journal (Spartanburg, S.C.) at www.GoUpstate.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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