La Ingrata, a new tex-mex restaurant in downtown Palestine, located between the Historic Events Center and the Texas Theater at 205 W. Crawford St., officially opened on Friday, May 20.
La Ingrata, which translates to “the ingrate”, is an authentic Tex-Mex restaurant founded by Juan Ramirez.
Ramirez is from San Miguel de Allede, Mexico, 147 miles northwest of Mexico City. It’s a colonial-era city in the central highlands of Mexico, known for its Baroque Spanish architecture, thriving arts scene, and cultural festivals.
Ramirez moved to the United States when he was 14 and immediately started working in restaurants to earn a living. He started out as a bus boy and over time moved on to cooking.
Ramirez previously owned two other restaurants in Louisiana, where he lived with his family, three years before moving to Palestine, but was forced to close due to the economic effects of COVID-19.
Determined to persevere, Ramirez then began seeking opportunities in other states, including Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas.
“When we looked at the territories and our options, we went with Texas because the cost of building it made the most sense,” he said. “We loved the idea of a small town away from the chaos of a big city and we chose Palestine because of its historical value and the city’s family-oriented attractions and festivals. Along with my heritage, these things are most important to me.
La Ingrata is expected to be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
They have a wide range of menu options and a fully stocked bar with domestic and imported beers from Mexico.
“We plan to meet with local breweries and distilleries soon,” Ramirez said.
La Ingrata is also creating a partnership in catering services for The Historic event center.
Managers Pablo Contreras and his wife, Adriana, said creativity is growing in Palestine.
“The spaces here are downtown and it’s great to see something new and convenient open downtown,” Pablo said. “We hope to see more companies coming. We are not equipped to provide catering, but it is something we are asked all the time. The solution just presented itself as there is a bay door that connects the two properties. This allows us to better magnify the experience.
Ramirez encourages others to pursue their passions.
“I took my experiences in the restaurant industry and eventually created my own recipes,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of people have felt the economic blow. The key is to hold on to your vision, whatever it is, to keep moving forward through the discouraging times and to ask family, friends or to anyone else and you will do it. Anyone can do it.
Ramirez even encourages all of his employees to start their own project one day and said he’ll be there to help when the time comes.
“We really want to invest in the future growth of Palestine,” Ramirez said. “We want to grow the community and no company can do it alone. The truth is, we all need each other.”
A full menu is available on La Ingrata’s Facebook page.
For more information, call 903-221-8403.