Mi Jalapeno Mexican restaurant in Smithton is opening a second location at Sunrise Center strip mall in O’Fallon, near the Marcus movie theater.
The space formerly housed La Parrilla Mexican restaurant, which closed recently.
“My goal is to open in about six weeks,” said Mi Jalapeno owner Nick Pliego, 45, of High Ridge, Missouri. “It depends on the licensing.”
O’Fallon Community Development Director Ted Shekell said the city doesn’t yet have any official paperwork, but he knows about the new tenant.
“It will be great to have a vital new restaurant in that space,” he said. “We hate to see it empty. It’s a good location.”
Pliego grew up in Mexico, moved to the United States about 28 years ago and got into the restaurant business 15 years ago. He opened Mi Jalapeno in Smithton in 2015.
The food is more authentic than other Mexican restaurants. They use the same salsa on everything, and we have all different kinds of salsas.
Nick Pliego on Mi Jalapeno
“The food is more authentic than other Mexican restaurants,” he said. “They use the same salsa on everything, and we have all different kinds of salsas. And we sell a lot of seafood.”
Pliego is working to make the O’Fallon storefront look completely different from La Parrilla’s decor. He’s painting, installing new tables and booths and doing other remodeling.
“I can’t wait to see it,” said Laura Land, owner of The CoffeeHouse in the same strip mall. “It’s going to be fun. Maybe they’ll have different dishes (than La Parrilla).”
Land also serves food, but she welcomes the new tenant.
“We do different things, so we complement each other,” she said. “I wish success to them. I know they’re painting and doing a lot of stuff.”