Casa Sanchez - Interview
Updated: Oct 16
Welcome to the Leadville, CO restaurant blog series! Here is my interview with Roger, the owner of Casa Sanchez Mexican Food Restaurant.
Many guests that stay at The Silver Rose of Leadville ask where they should eat when they are in town. Rather than just give a simple recommendation, I thought it would be fun to go a step further and interview local restaurant owners. The restauranteurs would get a chance to convey who they are and what makes their restaurants unique. By providing guests with more background and personal information on Leadville's restaurants perhaps choosing where to eat can be easier.
How did you end up in Leadville?
I initially came to the Copper Mountain ski resort to work in a restaurant. I was able to get to know the town of Leadville, and I really liked the local community here. At one point, an opportunity arose where I was able to acquire the building space, and I jumped on it. It allowed me to open this restaurant where I could serve authentic Mexican food.
How did you end up in the restaurant business?
I have always loved food and cooking. Many years ago, in 2011, I was looking for a new opportunity, and I decided to leave Mexico to find it. I found myself in Copper Mountain washing dishes in a restaurant. I worked hard and worked my way up to cooking and eventually owning my own restaurant. I now own three restaurants, one in Buena Vista and two in Leadville.
What is your favorite part of the job?
Cooking is, of course, my favorite. But I also enjoy meeting and talking with all the people who come into the restaurant.
How did you come up with your menu?
I wanted to bring true Mexican food to the community. The menu offerings are 70% authentic Mexican food from the central regions of Mexico, including Oaxaca, Guerrero, Michoacan, and Jalisco. The other 30% is Tex-Mex.
Authors note: I will admit that I really wasn't entirely sure of the definition of Tex-Mex nor the differentiation between it and authentic Mexican, so I did a little research. I found out that Tex-Mex is another way of saying American Mexican food that originated in Texas. Texans melded Mexican food with ingredients that were more accessible to them, including beef, flour, black beans, and yellow cheese. Examples include fajitas and nachos. Authentic Mexican food uses ingredients that are more accessible south of the Rio Grande, including a larger variety of beans, chilis, white cheese, corn, and a more extensive assortment of meat.
What is your favorite dish, and what are your customers' favorite dishes?
That would be the Pork Carnitas and the Pork Carnitas. The enchiladas are a close second.
Authors Note: The Pork Carnitas are my husband's favorite as well. They are worth a try, especially if you are fond of pulled pork. Since Carnitas are made with pork shoulder, which has a higher fat content, the meat is super tender and juicy. Casa Sanchez knows how to do this dish justice.
What is special about your restaurant?
The authentic recipes are what make the restaurant so special, and we cook everything fresh. We also care a lot about the service. Lastly, having a reasonable price point is essential. So, by providing delicious, fresh food that is priced well and delivered in a friendly atmosphere, we have become a local favorite.
What is the hardest part of the business?
It is all day, every day. I rarely get to ever take a vacation.
Do you have a new restaurant?
Yes, Tacos La Mina in North Leadville by Safeway. It is a drive-thru restaurant that serves 90% authentic Mexican food. Our specialty is tacos and Mexican hamburgers. There are eight varieties of meat for the tacos, which is very Mexican. We also have various salsas, including avocado salsa, pineapple salsa, and chili salsas.
Casa Sanchez is within walking distance from the Silver Rose of Leadville. I will come here with my family often for dinner. I think it is some of the best Mexican food I've ever had. The portions are healthy, and the Margaritas are delicious. Just beware of the large-sized Margarita! I like to try authentic dishes, and I've enjoyed the Aguachile and the Chicken en Mole. Honestly, I have had many different dishes, and they are all quite tasty. I highly recommend it, and it's fun to ring the bell for good service on your way out!
If you go to Casa Sanchez, try to take a peek at the bar at the very end of the restaurant past the bathrooms. The middle of the floor is thick plexiglass covering up the top of an old cistern built when the original building was constructed. It's oddly fascinating and unnerving at the same time as you can stand on top of it and look down for at least 25 feet. It is lit up on the inside, giving you a glimpse into historic Leadville construction. It's worth a peek!