Joel Matos is certainly no stranger to providing area diners with great food and an excellent dining experience having been involved in the operation of the Black Sheep Barbeque in Yellville for a number of years. A good track record to be sure!
Wishing to now share his love for authentic Mexican, he recently teamed up with his stepdaughter, Alexis to bring true south-of-the-border cuisine to Mountain Home by opening up the Salty Senorita situated at 1007 Hwy 62 West in the building previously occupied by the Italian Garden.
Step one after securing a lease for the building was to oversee a complete deep clean and remodel to provide a fresh, bright, colorful, safe and healthy environment for diners to further enhance the overall dining experience. The restaurant opened its doors in late September and has enjoyed growing popularity as word of their wonderful food and fine service has spread.
When asked to define “authentic Mexican” food, Matos shared that the fare at Salty Senorita is not what folks describe as Tex-Mex, but rather has a more southwestern flare heavily influenced by central Mexican cuisine, cooking techniques and menu items.
Salty Senorita’s head chef Reyna Garcia brings 17 years of food preparation experience to the kitchen team having worked with her mother operating a taqueria. . . Who better to teach one the cooking craft than one’s own mother. . . .and judging from the wonderful dishes available, she learned her craft well!
The new restaurant’s signature dish, the Molcajete, showcases a south-of-the-border uniqueness. “Molcajete” is the Spanish word for mortar and pestle. The name itself comes from the Aztec words meaning “seasoning” and “bowl.” However, traditional molcajetes are slightly different than your average mortar and pestle. These tools are made out of volcanic rock. Their hard, rough surface makes blending and mixing easier and also ensures you get the strongest flavors out of spices.
This ancient cooking tool gives dishes their best flavor by making them the traditional way. A molcajete can still be found in many Mexican households. It has been used to cook recipes passed down through the generations.
The dish offered at Salty Senorita consists of grilled chicken, steak, chorizo sausage and shrimp sauteed with cambray onions with a dip of fried jalapenos with special spice sauce, garnished with cactus, cambry onions, slice of chihuaha cheese. served with rice, beans and tortillas. Chef Reyna quickly came back with one for this reporter to photograph and sample for myself. Needless to say. . . it was delicious!
It should be also be noted that the kitchen staff prepare the dishes in-house from scratch with fresh ingredients. Soon the team will also be making their own, fresh tortillas once the necessary equipment is in place.
Also coming soon for the Salty Senorita is final ABC approval for a liquor license to enable the sale of beer and wine, as well as margaritas or other adult beverages. Another example of Matos’ desire to add yet another dimension to his diners’ overall experience.
In addition to offering dine-in comfortable seating, take-out orders may be placed online via the restaurant’s website at saltysenoritaar.com. Orders may also be called in via 870-701-3112. Hours of operation are Monday thru Saturday from 11am – 9pm, and Sundays from 11am – 4pm. Matos went on to share that the team at Salty Senorita can also provide catering services for banquets, holiday parties or other events. The restaurant itself will soon complete work on a private room that may be scheduled for birthday parties, meetings or other gatherings.
Besides making a mark by offering great food and a quality experience to patrons, Matos is already taking steps to connect with the community in other ways. Coming up soon, the Salty Senorita team will be preparing a Thanksgiving meal for residents and staff at Serenity House, the local domestic women’s shelter. He also has joined other local business owners in their support of the annual Mtn Home Lions Club auction by contributing a number of gift cards for inclusion in the items to be auctioned to benefit local Lions community service projects.
I departed the Salty Senorita with many thoughts running through my head as to how I would share this find with readers. I must admit however, that top of mind was how SOON I could arrange to come back with friends to dig deeper into what Matos and his team have to offer in the way of a truly authentic Mexican dining experience.