For 20 years, Pedro Chavez, owner of Lenny's Cafe and Grill, worked in the kitchens of Mexican restaurants, dreaming about opening his own place. In August 2010, he saw an opportunity and he took it.
"The first thing I wanted to give my customers is comfort, service and peace," Chavez said.
But it is his love of cooking that keeps him going.
"My food is what brings me here. The kitchen is my passion," he said.
A popular feature of his menu is the large selection of breakfast items, available all day. Folks love the omelets ($7) -- such as the bacon and cheese, or ham and cheese -- served with hand-cut hash browns.
The Chicken Fried Steak ($7) with eggs, hash browns and country gravy is another pleaser, while the Breakfast Burrito ($7) -- stuffed with hash browns, ham, green peppers, onions, eggs and cheese, and smothered in cheese and Chavez's signature chili verde sauce -- is perhaps the favorite of all.
Chavez believes in offering his customers large portions at a low price to give them a good value.
"I want my customers to feel good about their purchase," he said.
For example, the Biscuits and Gravy ($5) are a value, served with three large biscuits.
As for entrees, Lenny's Large Combination ($8.95) comes with one enchilada, one tostada, one taco and one burrito, plus a side of rice, chili verde, beans and a tortilla. Chavez lets customers decide how they want their taco, burrito and enchilada. "We let them make it the way they want," he said.
The most well-known item on the menu is the Smothered Burrito With Cheese ($9.75), two giant burritos smothered in cheese and chili verde with a side of rice and beans.
"Without this dish, it wouldn't be Lenny's," Chavez said.
Chavez developed his recipes working in commercial kitchens over the past two decades, and he's made changes here and there to create his own personal flavors. For example, his enchilada sauce and fresh tomato salsa reflect his own personal style.
For dessert, popular picks include homemade rice pudding ($2.25), flan ($3.25), or the fried ice cream ($2.75) with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and cherries.