Colfax Business Spotlight: Cocina Hernandez
Meet Juan Hernandez of Cocina Hernandez Mexican Restaurant in downtown Colfax!
Tacos are in Juan’s blood ---
Juan grew up working at his family’s taco stands in the Guadalajara area of Mexico. Because of his childhood around food, cooking savory and delicious traditional Mexican food is one of his life’s passions. Since moving to the United States over 20 years ago, he’s worked in pretty much every aspect of the restaurant industry and wanted to someday give running his own restaurant a try. In 2013, the perfect opportunity arose for him and his wife Megan (an Iowa native from Mingo, who he met in the early 2000’s and they now have a very busy family of four boys) to open their own Mexican restaurant in a historic building in downtown Colfax. At the time, there wasn’t much food diversity in Colfax. Through a market analysis survey conducted by Colfax Main Street and Main Street Iowa; Colfax Main Street learned that Colfax locals wanted Mexican food. Then Main Street director, Julia Kern, told the Hernandezes about the local need and they took the opportunity to open Cocina Hernandez.
Cocina Hernandez serves all your traditional Mexican eats with tacos and sizzling fajitas being their most popular menu items. It’s also a very popular local spot to sip margaritas with friends. Sometimes Juan enjoys serving extra authentic foods he grew up with, like barbacoa (a slow cooked beef) or ceviche (a seafood salad marinated in citrus) which he encourages locals to try. His favorite menu item are the carnitas which are slow cooked braised pork served with tortillas and sides. They are also planning to expand their menu in the future to include more American options like hamburgers and they are also bringing back their popular breakfast burrito. Also, keep a look out for the occasional all-you-can-eat taco bar on Sundays!
Juan told us that he enjoys living and working in Colfax because it has been a very supportive community to him and his family. He thinks it’s a great quiet and safe place to raise his kids. One of his favorite things about his job is that he gets to meet all kinds of new people and locals that come into his restaurant. In the past, Cocina Hernandez has hosted small Cinco de Mayo festivals in Colfax to help residents experience and learn about Mexican and Latino cultures. It’s his way of helping give back to his adopted community. Colfax Main Street is thankful for the diversity, delicious food, and kind personality that Juan brings to our community; please give them a visit for your next meal!
Cocina Hernandez is open 7 days a week, Sun-Thurs 11AM-2:30PM for lunch and 4:30PM-10:30PM for dinner. Fri-Sat 11AM-10:30PM for lunch and dinner. They also have a taco truck which you can occasionally find at regional festivals or occasionally at TPI in Newton. You can find them at 7 North Walnut Street in Colfax, Iowa 50054 and contact them at 515-674-9110.