The “family” in La Palma Family Restaurant, the new Mexican restaurant at 7317 Warren Sharon Road in Brookfield, starts with the staff.
Brothers Feliciano and Federico Diaz own the eatery, and it is staffed by another brother, relatives, and Federico’s girlfriend, Kate McCurdy, who doubles as their interpreter.
The Diazes are from Chiapas in southern Mexico. Feliciano, also known as Felix, has been in the U.S. for about 15 years, and his brother for half that time. They settled in the New Castle area and have worked extensively in the restaurant industry, from waiting tables to cooking to managing, McCurdy said.
“It’s always been a dream of theirs to open their own restaurant,” McCurdy said. “That’s what they’ve been working for in the past, and the time has finally come that they’ve gained enough knowledge to open their own restaurant.”
The Diazes chose the Brookfield location because it was mindful of home.
“When we were looking for restaurants, we wanted to find somewhere that reminded us of home so that, when we found Brookfield, it was really similar to what we’re used to and where they’re from, so we really liked the area and that’s pretty much why we settled here,” McCurdy said.
The menu is a mixture of familiar Tex-Mex dishes and more authentic Mexican fare, such as burritos, seafood and grilled dishes, enchiladas and various combinations. There are nacho fajitas specials on Mondays and tacos on Tuesdays.
“This is our compact menu, too,” McCurdy said. “Everybody’s been telling us, ‘Oh, the menu’s so big!’ This is our downsized version of the menu.”
“We plan on seeing what’s popular, and then we’ve been posting on our Facebook chef’s specials,” she said. “They just come up with ideas, and we post them on Facebook and we see the popularity of them, and then we plan on eventually swapping them so we keep a continuous rotation of menu items.”
There are off-menu specialty items that you can ask for, such as homemade tortillas, which are a little thicker and seasoned differently, Feliciano said.
The owners are working on getting a liquor license – Feliciano said he wants to build a bar – but, in the meantime, try an aguas frescas, a non-alcoholic drink that is popular in Mexico. Horchata has a milky texture and is seasoned with cinnamon. Jamaica is like an hibiscus tea, McCurdy said. Pina is pineapple water.
“They’re sweet,” she said. “We make them fresh pretty much every day. Everything we have here is made in-house – all of our sauces, our chips, our bowls.”
The Diazes said they have been very busy since the restaurant opened in April, but want to get even busier.
“We’ve been really happy so far with the opening,” McCurdy said. “We want to get a little more connected with the community.”
The Diazes hope to form a relationship with local schools and community groups, and are open to hosting fundraisers.
“Community is something that’s really important to us,” McCurdy said. “We want to try our best to build a strong relationship with the school and maybe other organizations in the Brookfield community.”
La Palma’s hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant’s phone number is 330-619-5225.