Felipe’s Mexican Restaurant–It’s In The Blood

2014-08-22 19.57.43Felipe’s Mexican Restaurant’s humble beginning exemplifies the meaning of the Latino American Dream. 

Voted a Reader’s Choice award for Best Mexican Restaurant in 2014 by the Wichita Eagle, the family owned chain has been in business for nearly 50 years pioneering its style of Mexican cuisine and feeding generations of families in Wichita, Kansas. 

On a bustling and muggy Friday night in late August 2014, Tequila Aficionado Media was invited to meet with the proprietors of Felipe’s, the Lujano family, at the northeast Wichita location of their four venues.  

Family Is Everything

Felipe's logo.

 2014-08-22 20.59.43It is the family patriarch, Don Roberto Lujano, who captures all the attention.

Strolling through the clean and brightly decorated restaurant, Don Roberto, brother of the deceased Felipe for whom the restaurants are named, visits every table to shake hands with his regulars.  He responds with a wide grin and a kind word as people of every race, creed and color call him Papa.2014-08-22 20.58.13

In the next two clips, Don Roberto’s son, Miguel Lujano, manager of the northeast restaurant on Woodlawn Blvd., recounts Felipe’s vast history as the first establishment to introduce Mexican cuisine to Wichita in 1967.

Think You’ve Tasted It All?

I’ve ingested just about every single style of Mexican food.  From glitzy chain restaurants with signature tropical fruit-based tequila drinks, to hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop diners that serve handmade tortillas and guacamole, I truthfully thought I had tasted it all.

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Not the usual “gringofied” spicy Mexican food that is served in the corporate-owned eateries, Felipe’s relies heavily on a medley of traditional herbs, spices, and heirloom family recipes.  Still, they are not without its own unique cuisine challenges as Miguel Lujano explains…

Mild vs. Hot 

2014-08-22 21.12.04With the influx of more Mexican and Mexican Americans into Wichita establishing diners of their own, Felipe’s continues to find ways to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack.

Noting that their customer base is trending toward more spicy hot ingredients, the Lujano family has taken advantage of this turnabout by adding some picante to their signature dishes.  Don Roberto Lujano and his wife, Maria Teresa, still cook in the kitchen with most dishes made from scratch.

And in a state whose liquor is controlled (state run), the task of obtaining more authentic tequilas for Felipe’s emblematic cocktails can be even more challenging, especially when competing restaurants plagiarize them for their own menus.  The secret, Miguel Lujano insists, is educating their customers.

Maestro Dobel Special Edition

Maestro Dobel Special Edition

Felipe's Special Edition selection.

Felipe’s Special Edition selection.

Miguel admitted that it also helps to be friendly with representatives from Glazer’s and Standard Beverage Corporation, liquor distributors who share his passion for tequila.  Through his relationships, Felipe’s has been able to acquire such sought after tequilas as Suerte, Siete Leguas, Demetrio, George Clooney’s Casamigos, and participate in Maestro Dobel’s Special Edition program.

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Craving Felipe’s

Here, Miguel Lujano explains how Felipe’s is so artful at getting their customers to crave their cooking and cocktails.

Three Keys To Success

Miguel Lujano shares his father’s three keys to a successful Mexican restaurant.

In The Blood

In a city that has seen its Hispanic population boom from a scattering few in 1967 to close to 60,000 strong in 2014, Felipe’s has actively enticed the unpredictable tastes of its community over the decades.  But, what keeps the Lujano family passionately pushing the limits of their traditional fare?

Simply put–

It’s in their blood.

***

Enjoy this Felipe’s signature recipe for homemade sangrita…

Felipe's signature recipe for homemade sangrita.

Felipe’s signature recipe for homemade sangrita.

 

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and Miguel’s signature Margarita.

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DIY With Empty Tequila Bottles

Recycle or Upcycle?

hummingbird feederwind chimeIf you’re anything like us, you’ve got a ridiculous collection of empty tequila bottles that you just don’t want to throw away.  Either the tequila was so delightful, you shared it with friends on a special occasion, the bottles are too beautiful or you just want a library of the tequilas you’ve enjoyed.  Whatever your reason for not wanting to part with your empty tequila bottles, eventually you come up against the age old question “Where do I put them all?”

 

Well, thanks to Jessica sharing a great hummingbird feeder idea on her blog, Jessica’s Mexico, we’ve put together a Pinterest Board of that and several other projects and kits from around the web that can be put to use with some of your favorite tequila bottles for some creative upcycling.

Creative Upcycling of Tequila Bottles

wet_6soap dispenserHere are just a few examples of the great Do-It-Yourself projects that we’ve pinned.  Click on any of the images to visit the board and see all of them.

Some bottles are so beautiful, you want to see them every day.  So why not make a soap dispenser for the bathroom?  A Whispering Eye Tequila bottle would make a lovely addition to any ladies bath.

Tequila Bottle Lighting

 

oil lamps

How about an oil lamp kit for some romantic dining?

Simple votives

A simple way to create votive holders for patio lighting.

 

hanging lamps

Any size or shape can be used for hanging lamps. Pick your favorites and mix them up!

 

line of lights

For some fantastic lighting behind a bar, try a row of hanging tequila bottle lamps.

christmas tree

For the best Christmas of all, find someone handy with metals and create this festive bottle Christmas tree frame.





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Sipping Off The Cuff: Demetrio Tequila Anejo

demetrio, tequila, tequila aficionado, tequila magazineAlexander Perez and M.A. “Mike” Morales taste and discuss Demetrio tequila anejo and explain why they nominated it as a 2014 Brands of Promise contender.

About Demetrio Tequila Anejo

This is the crown jewel of the Demetrio suite of products. Made from 100% certified blue agave, painstakingly nurtured by our Master Distillers, its ultra-premium character is expressed through its intense golden coloration and subtle wooden aroma. It has a very complex yet refined flavor, double distilled in stainless steel and aged 15 to 18 months in white oak barrels with a maximum capacity of 200 liters, resulting in the most unassuming and mellow after-taste. Created for the most demanding and sophisticated palate, it’s to be savored from a snifter as you would a fine malt whiskey or cognac.

 

Demetrio Tequila Online

Find Demetrio Tequila online at www.demetriotequila.com.

Find Demetrio Tequila on Twitter here.

Find Demetrio Tequila on Facebook here.

 

 

About Demetrio Tequila

Demetrio Tequila is a premium quality, competitively priced tequila created to capture the taste buds of the most sophisticated tequila aficionado. Our strategy is simple; provide a high-quality product that is affordable and memorable.

At Demetrio, we pride ourselves on being a socially responsible company. You will see us sponsoring many charitable events but also working closely with our friends over at www.SoRewarding.com to give back to many different causes.

If you enjoy ultra premium tequila, give Demetrio a shot. If you love it as much as we think you will, take a photo and upload it onto our “parties” section of the site. We’ll be sure to let you know when we come to your neighborhood!

 

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Sipping Off The Cuff: Demetrio Tequila Reposado

demetrio, tequila, tequila aficionado, tequila magazineAlexander Perez and M.A. “Mike” Morales taste and discuss Demetrio tequila reposado and explain why they nominated it as a 2014 Brands of Promise contender.

Find Demetrio Tequila online at www.demetriotequila.com.

Find Demetrio Tequila on Twitter here.

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Sipping Off The Cuff: Demetrio Tequila Blanco

demetrio, tequila, tequila aficionado, tequila magazineAlexander Perez and M.A. “Mike” Morales taste and discuss Demetrio tequila blanco and explain why they nominated it as a 2014 Brands of Promise contender.

Find Demetrio Tequila online at www.demetriotequila.com.

Find Demetrio Tequila on Twitter here.

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