La Casa Mexicana Restaurant Opens in Boardman

BOARDMAN, Ohio – On a wall at La Casa Mexicana restaurant hangs a large photograph of a landmark colonial-era church with a magnificent dome.

It’s a scene from La Piedad, Mexico – the hometown of the restaurant’s owners and the source of their culinary roots.

La Casa Mexicana recently opened at 7334 Market St., in a plaza at U.S. Route 224 and Market Street. The space was the site of Legends sports bar and restaurant, which closed last year. Its previous incarnations include Johnny’s restaurant.

The new owners are Maria Hernandez and her husband, chef Marcos Hernandez; restaurant manager Elena Hernandez; bartender Juan Barajas; and Fernando Hernandez.

It’s the ownership team’s first foray into the Mahoning Valley, but it’s not their first northeastern Ohio property.

The family formerly owned a Mexican restaurant in North Ridgeville and has ownership connections to restaurants in Wadsworth, Fairlawn and Norton.

La Casa Mexicana restaurant features a spacious bar area and a separate dining room.

The new Boardman restaurant site had been given a complete facelift three years ago by the previous owners and was in move-in condition. The new owners customized it by adding a large front window and changing the décor, Maria Hernandez said.

La Casa Mexicana has an extensive menu that ranges from traditional Tex-Mex favorites to specialties from Michoacan state in Mexico, from which the family members hail.

At the front is a 37-seat bar with additional high-top tables. The dining room has a seating capacity of about 100, and there is also a spacious patio for outdoor dining.

La Casa also has a 150-capacity banquet hall that can be rented, with optional catering.

Maria was born in California but grew up in Mexico. Her family moved back to California when she was in her early teens, and then followed her brother, Fernando, to the Cleveland area where he had opened a restaurant. She has worked in their family’s restaurants for much of her life.

“Last May, we decided to open another restaurant,” Maria said. Fernando and his business partner had settled on a site in North Olmsted that had been a Chinese buffet. But as the deal was progressing, they learned of the opportunity in Boardman.

“We were hesitant at first because it is far from where we lived,” Maria said. But after visiting the site, they were sold.

“Everything was already here,” she said. “And [unlike the North Olmsted site,] it needed no construction work. We just had to get over the emotional part of moving and focus on the business aspect.”

She describes La Casa Mexicana as a family gathering spot with a menu of familiar items and some specialties from her hometown.

“We are a mix of Tex-Mex but with authentic items from the streets of Mexico,” she explained. “We added shrimp tacos from Sinaloa, and our carnitas are made as they are done in Michoacan.”

The drink menu includes more Michoacan favorites, including horchata and hibiscus iced tea.

“It’s all made from scratch,” Maria said. “Authentic and fresh.”
The dessert menu includes Choco Flan, fried ice cream, xango, churros and sopapilla.

La Casa Mexicana is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; noon to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Pictured at top: Four of the co-owners of La Casa Mexicana stand in front of a photo of La Piedad, Mexico. From left are Juan Barajas, Maria Hernandez, Elena Hernandez and Marcos Hernandez.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.