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Business Pulse - Mexican restaurant opening this week
Ricas Tortas Hana - owner.jpg
Alberto Lavenant is set to open Ricas Tortas Hana this week at Plaza Shopping Center. He hopes to get his final OK from the Health Department on Monday and open on Tuesday.

The fake Facebook post about Chick-fil-A coming to McMinnville sparked several conversations here in the newsroom the past few days.

With so many people salivating at the thought we might one day land a Chick-fil-A, reporter Nikki Childers brought up an interesting question. If we could wave a magic wand and make one improvement to Warren County, what would it be?

An indoor pool and miniature golf course were both mentioned, along with several individual restaurants. Getting the Hampton Inn hotel on Sparta Street operational would also be a major asset.

The question is certainly thought-provoking and I’m sure 10 people would provide 10 different answers. What one thing would make our community a better place to call home if we could wave a magic wand and make it happen?

For me, the question is a no-brainer. I answered immediately and, after two days of contemplation, I stick by my original answer.

The one thing that would make Warren County better is another Mexican restaurant. It appears this week my wish will be granted.

Ricas Tortas Hana is poised to open this week at Plaza Shopping Center. 

I commonly refer to its location as the old Gondola spot, but now I realize there are many people who don’t remember Gondola being there so it may be better to say it’s on the front corner next to Somewhere Liquors.

Alberto Lavenant is the restaurant owner and he has 17 years of experience working at another local Mexican restaurant. Alberto emphasizes his restaurant will be like no other in town.

“A lot of people say they offer authentic Mexican food and it’s not even close,” said Alberto. “I will be offering authentic food that’s absolutely delicious. I’m so excited about this restaurant because it allows me to do something I’m comfortable with. My strengths are in the kitchen and in customer service. We are going to treat people right and prepare great food. There isn’t another restaurant in town like us.”

Alberto says he’s scheduled to get his final Health Department inspection on Monday. He says if he gets the OK on Monday, he will open Tuesday. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

“I’m looking forward to eating my food myself,” said Alberto on Friday. “We’re expecting food deliveries this weekend and I can’t wait to get up and running.”

One of his specialties will be Mexican sandwiches. Alberto said his Ricas Tortas is a massive sandwich for just $7.50 that’s big enough to be two meals.

“Our prices are all very good with the most expensive item on the menu being a ribs plate served with rice, beans and a salad for just $9,” said Alberto. “We also have kids meals for $5 and a chicken plate with rice and cheese is one of the kids meals for $5.”

Alberto is a former member of the Mexican military. He said military service taught him the need for cleanliness and it instilled discipline. He said working 12 hours a day, seven days a week is fine with him because he wants to see his restaurant thrive.

“One reason I am opening at 9 a.m. every day is because some people want to eat tacos and quesadillas earlier than 11 a.m.,” said Alberto. “In the morning, people eat biscuits, biscuits, biscuits. That’s fine, but sometimes you want something other than a biscuit. You want a taco.”

A smile came across Alberto’s face as he described his enchiladas made with authentic red sauce and topped with white cheese. For more information, Ricas Tortas Hana can be reached at (931) 304-8043.

Betty Minton

wins $200

It's been said a dollar is hard to come by.

For Betty Minton, winning $200 in free groceries was as easy as entering an online contest on

Good Friday was certainly good for Betty as Warehouse Discount Groceries manager Ryan Boyd presented her with gift certificates for $200. Naturally, Betty was pleased.

"I'm going to stock up," she said. "I love the meats here. They have really good deals."

Ryan agreed.

"Our Pick 5 meats are always a big draw," he said. "We want to provide the best shopping experience so customers enjoy shopping here."

Betty described herself as an occasional shopper at Warehouse Discount Groceries, but was quick to add, "You'll be seeing me here a whole lot more."

Warehouse Discount Groceries has certainly established a solid reputation and is preparing to celebrate two successful years in McMinnville since taking over the spot formerly occupied by Foodland Plus.

My favorite part of the store is the deli section because I love potato salad, cornbread salad, macaroni salad, seven-layer salad, pea salad, and everything else salad. They make all these types of salads fresh daily at the deli and I've proven to be able to eat an entire container of cornbread salad in one sitting. It's true.

All this is my way of saying Warehouse Discount Groceries on New Smithville Highway is a great place to shop. Those cookies with icing are awfully tasty too.