At home, Orlando “Orlee” and Nanette Lujan’s favorite meals hail from Italy and Mexico.
A love for Italian food grew when they took a two-week trip to Rome with their daughter who completed a study abroad in Florence, Italy.
But their affinity for Mexican food goes way back. Orlee Lujan began working as a dishwasher in a Mexican restaurant 42 years ago while he was still in high school. He progressed up the ranks to kitchen manager and general manager. His wife took a similar career path with 32 years as a waitress and manager at the same restaurant to her credit.
In July 2015, the couple decided to open Orlando’s Mexican Restaurant in Kaysville. “It all fell together. It was time for us to go out on our own and this place had just gone on the market. It is the size we wanted and we live five minutes away,” Nanette Lujan said of their good fortune with the timing.
Orlando’s Mexican Restaurant
Address: 141 N. Main St., Kaysville
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, until 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Her mother owned a Davis County diner and her maternal grandfather owned a restaurant in Salt Lake City during the 1940s and ’50s. “I promised myself I wouldn’t do it, because it is weekends and holidays and 14-15 hour days,” she said. Yet, somehow she has remained drawn to the food industry and said she thoroughly enjoys the social aspect.
The Kaysville building was originally constructed as a grocery store in 1946. It later operated as a bookstore before it housed a Mexican restaurant for 12 years prior to the Lujans taking ownership.
After renovations, the Lujans opened with a bright interior, colorful booths, cheerful paintings and sunny décor. Behind the main dining area is a separate room for private parties that seats 40 and has a projector.
The menu is made up of original recipes. The salsa and enchilada and chili verde sauces are made fresh daily. Entrees vary from spicy to mild in flavor. “We cater to everyone,” Orlee Lujan said.
He oversees the kitchen while Nanette works primarily in the dining room and also prepares the daily homemade soups. All four of the couple’s children take turns helping out when needed. “It has really brought our family together,” Orlee Lujan said.
Soups rotate daily. Some favorites include creamy chicken enchilada, chicken and poblano pepper, and creamy potato and broccoli.
Kaysville city and the community have been supportive of the Lujans. All of the advertising so far has been through word of mouth.
“We wanted to create a fun atmosphere with good food. A place that is very clean. We wanted it to be somewhere employees like to work. We want to be a neighborhood restaurant,” Nanette Lujan said.
6 Tempting taste bud treats:
• Combination No. 1 Roasted Chile Relleno ($9.99) — A large batter-less, fire-roasted pepper stuffed with pepper jack cheese, smothered in enchilada sauce and chili verde, paired with a cheese enchilada.
• Combination No. 3 Smothered Chili Verde Burrito ($9.99) —A chili verde burrito smothered in more chili verde.
• Combination No. 6 Enchilada, Shrimp and Taco ($9.99) — A cheese enchilada and ground beef taco with a panko-breaded, fried jumbo shrimp.
• Street Tacos ($8.99) —Two soft white corn tortillas filled with sweet pork, cheese, lettuce and pico de gallo.
• Chimichanga ($9.99) — A large crispy tortilla filled with choice of chicken, shredded beef or sweet pork, topped with enchilada sauce, guacamole and sour cream.
• Strawberry Nachos ($6.49) — Don’t forget the signature dessert; a layer of crisp flour tortilla chips is dusted with cinnamon and sugar, topped with vanilla bean ice cream, fresh slices of strawberries, whipped cream and a drizzle of caramel. A sweet way to end any meal.