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CHICO — If you’re looking for authentic Mexican street food, look no further than La Ciudad Mexican Grill, which had its grand opening August 29.
The restaurant, located at 645 West Fifth St. No. 110, is on the corner of Fifth and Ivy, in the heart of Chico State’s fraternity and sorority rows.
“We get a lot of student customers,” said owner Victor Garcia. “We’re going to adjust the menu a little to fit students’ financial needs.”
Garcia said there is a lot of street food in Mexico City and that is what the food is modeled after.
“This is the kind of food you find in Mexico City,” Garcia said. “It’s street food which is offered on streets and markets.”
Garcia was born in Mexico City but has lived in Chico for 23 years. He is fluent in English and Spanish.
Garcia’s restaurant is a labor of love and one that Garcia is trying out after having worked in construction for six years.
“It was an idea that felt natural,” Garcia said. “And if you don’t try you never succeed.”
One of the most popular items on the menu is the pambazo, which is like a delicious Mexican sandwich. It features two pieces of bread dipped in Guajillo (chile pepper) sauce and filled with chicken, cotija cheese, green salsa, lettuce and sour cream.  Garcia said his mom made pambazos often when he was growing up and she still makes them to this day.
Some of the other popular dishes are huaraches and machetes. A machete is like a big quesadilla, and the dough for it is handmade in the restaurant. A huarache is like a bigger pambazo and is served with beans.  The main price point for the food is between $14 and $15.
“It’s fast food so fast, easy and good,” Garcia said.
Another popular item is the agua fresca, which is a fresh, cold drink similar to an icee with flavors such as pineapple, strawberry and watermelon.
Garcia currently has seven employees, who are all part-time employees except for one full-timer,  manager Victor Velazquez.
Server Emily Vanness, a biochemistry major at Chico State, enjoys working at La Ciudad.
“I like serving and talking to people,” Vanness said. “Also I live close by so it’s really convenient to get to work.”
La Ciudad is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The food can be delivered through Grub Hub.
The restaurant’s information and menu can be found on Facebook under La Ciudad Mexican Grill and on Instagram under lcmg.530. To go orders can be called in or texted to 530-767-3434, which is the restaurant’s main phone number.
I write a business column every week. Please email me with any suggestions for future stories, questions or comments. I can be reached at jblevins@chicoer.com.
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