Warm earth tones, wide plank floors and handsome fireplaces give La Rienda Latin Cafe the welcoming atmosphere of a refined hacienda. Decorative equestrian accents pay tribute to restaurateur Nery Carrera’s father, a Guatemalan cowboy. A vintage photo of this beloved horseman on a rearing stallion adorns one wall, and his bridle tack – La Rienda translates to “the reins” – is displayed proudly in the cozy tavern.
Family pride shines throughout the restaurant, with members of Carerra’s clan contributing talents that range from crafting corn tortillas from fresh masa harina dough each day to offering attentive service that makes guests feel right at home at lunch or dinner. One of Carrera’s daughters even hand-painted the vibrant mural of coastal Guatemala which graces an enclosed sun-porch dining room.
The expansive menu presents an enticing journey through Latin America, offering such familiar Mexican favorites as burritos, enchiladas and fajitas, as well as traditional Guatemalan pulike stew and panini-style pressed Cuban sandwiches filled with tender pork. Every dish is freshly prepared from authentic regional recipes, from flavorfully marinated meats and made-to- order guacamole to slow-simmered soups and robust sauces. Appetites are whetted with the delivery of pico de gallo – fresh salsa bursting with the bright flavors of ripe tomatoes and fragrant cilantro – that arrives with a basket of crisp tortilla chips.