Each Monday, Ballwin-Ellisville Patch will highlight the owners behind one of our many fun and unique businesses in our community. This week, Jimmy Feeney spoke with the Jimenez-Guitierrez family, owners of Señor Pique, in order to learn the family’s story behind their restaurant.
Linda Wilson, co-owner and general manager says it's the dishes that you don’t see anywhere else that makes Señor Pique stand out.
Co-owners Angel and Janet Jimenez along with Angel's mother Maria have created an authentic menu straight from the kitchens of Mexico. Their tagline 'It's all about being made by Mexicans!' rings true from the owners to the kitchen staff right down to the buss staff.
Their story starts, however, when Angel and Janet met about eight years ago when they both were working at another restaurant. With Janet's mother Linda having had managed restaurants for almost 25 years, and Maria having the ability to create delicious recipes learned around Mexico City, the next logical step was to combine their talents and start their own restaurant.
For the next two years, Angel and Janet saved up until they had enough money to open their first location in 2004. The original restaurant in Manchester was cozy, and allowed for them to hone their skills and develop authentic flavors underneath a manageable roof.
As the staff got settled, they eventually moved into their current location in 2007 offering more parking, triple the occupancy and a large outdoor patio. That year, Señor Pique made a remarkable splash, even taking home the title of "Best Mexican Restaurant" by the Riverfront Times.
Server David Vargas, who grew up just outside Mexico City, said the sense of family at Señor Pique makes a wonderful work experience.
“I love working here because it feels like being back in Mexico. The food, the friendly atmosphere and the way they treat me makes it feel like family.”
In addition to authentic entrées, the menu is varied, with appetizers, soups, salads, side, numerous domestic and imported beers as well as 40 different margaritas--an addition to the menu due in part to a recent customer-recipe contest.
“We were looking for customers to give us their best margarita recipe, and the winner would win a trip for two to Mexico,” Linda said. “Where else can you enter your favorite tequila drink and win a Mexican trip? No where I know of.”
Linda has lived in West County for 25 years, and now resides in Wildwood with her husband, Jerry, who can be seen on busy nights helping out behind the scenes. Angel and Janet aren’t far away as fellow Wildwood residents, who live their with their daughter, Isabella, who is 4.
“We love being in Ballwin,” Linda said. “Although it's a bit of a ride from the city, we get people who travel out here. That's the best compliment because we know there are other Mexican restaurants closer to them, and they choose to make the trip to ours."