New in the East Village: Build-your-own burrito
The rainy day didn't stop over 4,500 taco-hungry festival-goers from tasting over 40 different kinds of tacos on Saturday. Vendors and food trucks alike entered their best tacos in 'Best Taco' contests to be judged in a blind taste test by a panel of celebrity judges. And these award-winning tacos are available right here in the Des Moines metro area. Brian Taylor Carlson
East Village is known for its variety of dining choices. In fact, East Village now has close to 30 dining venues.
But there's one kind of restaurant that has been missing in this downtown neighborhood for several years — a taquería. Until now.
Happy Burrito opened in East Village on Saturday, a Mexican restaurant serving up authentic family recipes for burritos, tacos, sopes, quesadillas, tostadas and tortas.
It's owned by Jaime Herrera, 45, of Des Moines. He is the former owner of Monterrey Mexican Restaurants and currently also owns La Hacienda on S.E. 14th St.
The name for his newest restaurant was thought up by his youngest son.
"I've been in the restaurant business all my life," Herrera said. "I've had this idea for years, but I haven't done it until now." He said his oldest son and daughter will also be working at the restaurant, following in the family tradition.
A build-your-own concept, diners choose the wrapping and then the filling. Each order comes with crispy tortilla chips and a trio of mild to spicy salsas.
- Azada - sliced skirt or flank steak
- Pollo - marinated chicken
- Al Pastor - marinated pork
- Picadillo - ground beef with onions and lime
- Barbacoa - barbecued pork
- Carnitas - braised pork
- Puerco - sliced pork
- Chorizo - spicy Mexican sausage
- Papas - potato
- Frijol - bean
- Pierna - pork leg
- Lomo - pork loin
- Milaneza - breaded pork loin
- Aguacate - avocado
- Queso - cheese
- Jamón - ham
- Fajita - sliced skirt or flank steak with onions and bell peppers
Herrera said Happy Burrito will also offer nachos with a variety of topping combinations and also queso dip.
Beverages are non-alcoholic with a variety of Coke products, Jarritos sodas and other imported Mexican soft drinks available.
Herrera moved to the U.S. in 1988 from Guadalajara, Mexico. It wasn't long before he discovered his love of working in restaurants. By the time he was 20, he owned a similar taquería in Chicago.
He moved to Des Moines in 1997 and lives with his three children and wife of 17 years.
Location: 525 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thursday, through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 a.m.; closed Sundays.