Islander opens Mexican restaurant in Snoqualmie

Anna Sotelo — the “Ana” in Ana’s Family Style Mexican Restaurant in the Snoqualmie Ridge Village — recently opened her restaurant.

Sotelo initially planned a July 2006 opening. However, progress at the construction site slowed while she and her husband, David, were busy with new baby Lili and building a home. The restaurant opened in late April.

Many people already know Sotelo from her Ana’s Mexican Family Restaurant on Mercer Island. In 2005, the landlord ended her building lease and she was on the hunt for a new location. Friends suggested she check out Snoqualmie Ridge. She liked what she saw and signed a lease for a space in the Village in October of that year. The Sotelos moved the family to the neighborhood two months later.

“We found we needed to live nearby, being physically close to the business, to balance giving the maximum effort for customer service and enjoying our family life,” Sotelo said.

Mercer Island was home to Ana’s Family Style Mexican Restaurant for two years, beginning in November 2003, when Sotelo purchased the Mi Pueblo restaurant and assets. Sotelo was unhappy when the landowner decided to terminate her lease and sell the property in 2005, but realizes that “everything happens for a reason,” she said.

“What we had begun to accomplish on Mercer Island — it’s all that and more here in Snoqualmie,” Sotelo added. “We miss everyone [on Mercer Island]...we’re excited to see old faces. Please stop by.” The restaurant staff and food haven’t changed.

On Mercer Island, Sotelo began a healthy cooking style that she will continue at her new business — no hydrogenated oils.

“We were cutting out these things at home, and I wanted the restaurant food to reflect what our family ate. We use an olive oil/canola oil blend. It’s more expensive, but well worth it,” she said.

Sotelo said she “enjoys getting to know the customers and their kids, learning their names and watching them grow. On Mercer Island, our specialty was knowing our customers and we plan to do the same thing here, with the same kind of service, the ultimate family restaurant — fast, friendly, efficient. We’re even using the menus we used on Mercer Island so customers will enjoy 2005 prices.”

A mural featuring a Mexican party scene contributes to a warm, festive atmosphere inside. Food and drink in the lounge is be served over a huge cedar plank-bar top created by Fall City’s Pete Nelson, whose company, TreeHouse Workshop, specializes in building tree houses from recycled wood.

“It’s been a long wait, but it’s also been good. It’s given me time to get a feel for the community,” she said.

Ana’s Family Style Mexican Restaurant is open daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Expect to see Sotelo at the restaurant often. “I’m excited,” she said.

Ana’s Family Mexican Restaurant is located at 7713 Center Blvd. S.E., Suite 190, on the corner of Center Boulevard S.E. and S.E. Kinsey Street. Call (425) 396-0466 to reserve a table.

Rebecca Mar contributed to this article.

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