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New restaurant, Chino’s Mexican Dining, opens at Monument Mall

February 22, 2019 GMT

SCOTTSBLUFF — Chris Bartella and her three sons, David, Thomas and Paul Cervantes of Scottsbluff, have been busy the last couple of months getting into the routine of the restaurant business.

Chino’s Mexican Dining opened in the food court at the Monument Mall just a few days after Thanksgiving, and recently held its grand opening Saturday, Feb. 16, unveiling a new dining room in the space formerly occupied by the Blackout Arcade.

“We have a few friends here in the mall, and they called us to see if we were interested in the space,” Bartella said Monday. “We thought about it for about a week before we decided to do it.”

Bartella said David Cervantes has had restaurant experience having worked at the Steel Grill in Gering since it opened. She said he still fills in there from time to time.

However, all of her kids love to cook, a skill Bartella said they’ve all learned from her father, Pete Cervantes. Pete went by “Chino” due to his curly hair, hence the restaurant’s name.

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Bartella said Chino learned to cook from his mother and her namesake, Christina Sanchez.

“It’s just like a normal weekend for us at home,” she said. “We all get together on the weekends and cook.”

Family is important to them, as is evident by the family tree in the dining room area.

“I had a lot of relations come down from Lincoln this weekend for the grand opening, and that’s where it all stemmed from,” she said.

The murals in the dining room were painted by David Marez, including a taco with Chino’s face. Bartella said she plans on having Marez do more works on canvas so that she can take them with her.

While the menu is still a work in progress, Bartella said it will grow as the family gets their feet under them.

“David loves to smoke meat, so we’ll probably have some of that on the menu, hopefully by the summertime,” she said.

They’ll also be adding sopapillas to the menu in the near future, Bartella said.

“My aunt is going to show me how to make those because I don’t know how and I don’t want to screw them up,” she said. “She’s going to help me and teach me how.”

The smothered enchilada plate has been the number one seller so far, but they will explore adding more items once a good pattern for prep work has been established.

The response to the restaurant has been great so far, and they’ve got their eyes on the future. “It’s been really good for us,” Bartella said. “I’m sure with the other businesses coming into the mall it is going to pop some more.”

Chino’s is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 12 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. They’re closed on Monday to give the family time to rest and get everything reset for the week.

Bartella said they offer delivery to the Scottsbluff/Gering area and the dining room is available for private parties. It can be reserved by calling 308-633-0466.

spike.jordan@starherald.com