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A legacy of love: Local Mexican restaurant inspired by an abuela headed in a new direction

palominos mexican restaurant
Posted at 8:00 AM, Sep 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-24 20:51:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Palomino's Restaurant opened in northeast Kansas City in the mid 90s. Jose and Rebecca Montez were the love and flavor behind the business, thanks to inspiration from Rebecca's abuela back in Mexico.

"You know, I was young when I came over here. I was like 13 years, I was 13 years old, but I learned from my grandmother. My grandmother used to work in a big restaurant in Mexico City," Rebecca said. "My mother and my father on Sundays, gathered at her house and every time it was a different dish."

That foundation led to 26 years in business, creating some of the best Mexican food in the Kansas City metro and more.

Veronica Chavez, Jose and Rebecca's daughter who now owns the restaurant, spoke on the restaurant's success.

"2012 we competed in the Viva Los Reales salsa showdown competition, which was held at the Royals Stadium. That was the first year we did it. Mom and I were up all night making salsa," Veronica said. "We beat some of the best in Kansas City, so I mean when we got back we all celebrated. We were just crying, like 'oh my gosh we won a trophy.' Then from then on, we continued to win that competition four years in a row."

Palominos Chavez family salsa

The Independence Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Kansas City have both honored Palomino's for years of excellence serving the community. Now the restaurant is closing its doors and charting a new course.

"I plan on selling the tamales and bottling the salsa and having an online store," Veronica said.

It's a tribute to the abuela who started it all, keeping those authentic flavors and her family's flavorful history alive.

"I think abuelas are like the heart of the family and they know how to cook. So whenever an abuela is cooking the family comes around. It just brings everybody together," Veronica said. "It's like love, you know? You just get in there and enjoy the food or just to be around their presence."

Palomino's is closing its doors for good, but not before a big party on Saturday, Sept. 25. The family said everyone is invited to come out as they thank the community for so many years of support for their business.