Joel Acosta started his first job at a restaurant in Washington when he was 18 years old. He soon worked his way up from dishwasher to head chef. Over the years, he developed a love for cooking and started creating his own recipes. He eventually became part owner of the Washington restaurant, where he remained for three years.
He then moved to Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, and opened his own place -- El Durango Mexican Restaurant. After six years in business, he and wife Rosalinda Acosta decided it was time to move the restaurant to a bigger city. They chose North Ogden and opened their doors at the end of March 2011.
Their son, Jonathan Ramirez, has been managing the restaurant for the past four years. He grew up around the food industry and, though he has tried other occupations, he said, nothing else seems to fit.
The part he loves most is serving his dad's food. His father has now been cooking for more than 25 years.
Ramirez said the key to their success is preparing all of the food fresh and from scratch, including all of the sauces, spice blends, beans and salsa. The menu is extensive, with more than 70 entrA(c)es to choose from.
Popular appetizers are the Gourmet Quesadillas ($9.95), stuffed with grilled chicken or steak, cheese and veggies, topped with sour cream and guacamole, and the Shrimp Ceviche Plate ($8.50), baby shrimp marinated in fresh lime juice and cilantro and served with a stack of tostadas.
For dinner, the Molcajete ($14.99) combines steak, chicken, chorizo, mushrooms, onions and peppers in a warm stone bowl, and the Fajitas ($12.50/$12.95) are served on a sizzling platter with choice of steak, chicken, prawns or pork.
A very traditional plate is the Carnitas Durango ($12.25), tender pieces of pork sautA(c)ed with lime juice, onions and spices. For something unique, the Mexican Pizza ($7.95) combines layers of fried tortillas with meat, beans, onions, tomatoes, cheese and sour cream.
There is also a section of the menu devoted to the health-conscious, with dishes like a Black Bean and Chicken Burrito ($8.50) or Spinach Enchiladas ($8.25).