Kitchen carries on Mexican tradition

Multigenerational ownership, management brings taste of Guadalajara, Mexico to downtown Moscow



Recipes passed down in the Lopez family inspired menu items available at La Casa Lopez in Moscow. They aim for authenticity.

SAM SCHMITKE, Evergreen reporter

La Casa Lopez is a family-owned, family-friendly restaurant.

Mitchell Lopez is one of three owners, along with his mother Irma and father Felix. He said the restaurant opened in 1994, but the three of them didn’t co-own it until 2002.

Lopez said the family of six came up from Guadalajara, Mexico in 1993 so his dad could start working in another restaurant before opening his own.

“We wanted the food to not be your average Tex-Mex or just Mexican food,” Lopez said. “We wanted it to show what we grew up with.”

Lopez said he understood food service from a young age. He said he remembers how his grandmother would serve food in Mexico.

“She had a home above her restaurant, which is really a European and Mexican thing to do,” Lopez said.

After their family opened their restaurant in Moscow, all six children went to the University of Idaho and worked with their parents at the business, he said.

“I remember one time when all of us were working, and we were bickering about something dumb,” Lopez said. “We all stopped and looked at each other and laughed — that was my favorite memory because you forgot that you are at work when you are such a family business.”

Lopez said he loves that his work makes people smile.

“People come in for celebrating birthdays, graduations, even getting their license,” Lopez said. “There isn’t much to do in Moscow and having people come to our restaurant and have a good time. It’s something we take pride in.”

The family loves to cook. The restaurant has its own signature food and drinks.

Lopez said his “welcome back home” go-to meal is the carne asada. He said he prefers beer usually, but he can enjoy a simple margarita or tequila over ice.

Lopez said the business is really family-oriented. Lopez said his uncle, mom, dad, cousins and some other friends who want some extra cash or work seasonally all work at the restaurant.

“We really love our staff, and they become a part of the family,” Lopez said. “We have been to three staff weddings and one more this coming April.”

La Casa Lopez is located at 415 S Main Street in Moscow. Its hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.