After five years of managing restaurants, Martin Herrera fulfilled his lifelong dream to open his own restaurant, Bandidos Border Grill, in December 2009.
Stone, brick and tile work, along with light fixtures that resemble lanterns, give the dining room a romantic outdoor patio feel.
Herrera's family hails from Sonora in northern Mexico, known as the land of the carne asada, "That's what we do best," Herrera said.
He grills every dish fresh to order. "I don't even have a microwave in the restaurant," he said.
The salsa and beans are prepared every day, and the tortillas are baked fresh. "We have a lot of compliments on the tortillas. They are fresh and you can tell. A good meal has to have a good tortilla," Herrera said.
Some of the specialties include rib-eye steak ($12.99), sweet pork salad ($7.49), and, of course, the carne asada burrito ($8.99) and the shrimp and steak plate ($13.99). The salads can be prepared without the rice, beans and shell for diners conscientious about their waistlines, and the chef can also add extra meat for those on high- protein diets.
Herrera said customers drive from as far away as Brigham City and Salt Lake City just for his fajitas ($12.99). Besides being tasty, he said, they are loaded with steak, chicken or shrimp.
His pastor tacos ($6.99) are prepared with pork roasted on the rotisserie grill, and seasoned with cilantro, onions and pineapple.
For dessert, Herrera offers several homemade treats ($4), including flan, fried ice cream and tres leches cake, which is soaked in three kinds of sweet milk.
The restaurant also provides delivery to office parties and catering for events. It has catered parties for as many as 600 people. Located off of the main dining room is a private room that can be reserved for up to 35 people.
Herrera finds himself working everywhere in the restaurant, including the kitchen and the dining room. Although it is a tough business, he loves all aspects of working with food and serving customers.
"It takes a lot of hours, but when you love what you do, everything is going to be fine," he said.