Marcelino "Chelino" Garcia started out with five employees, one restaurant and a dream. He now has 500 employees and 11 restaurants throughout Oklahoma.
Garcia opened Chelino's Mexican Restaurant in 1989. The original location is at SW 36 Street and Walker Avenue. He said it was about a year later when the second restaurant opened on S Robinson Avenue, and he's been adding restaurants ever since.
Each Chelino's may vary in looks, but Garcia said all the food is the same at the various restaurants.
"I hope you come to Chelino's and enjoy what we have," Garcia said. "We have very authentic Mexican food, very fresh and homemade every day."
Some of the authentic dishes include Carne Asada, fish soup, flautas and Coctel De Camaron (shrimp cocktail). Also, flour tortillas are handmade daily. Garcia said not to worry, Tex-Mex lovers will find excellent chimichangas, queso sauce and a variety of other dishes. The restaurants also offer daily lunch specials.
Meals range from about $5 to $26, depending of what customers choose off the menu. There is a dish called Plato Garcia, which includes a combination of chicken, beef and shrimp fajitas, grilled peppers and onions, served with muchas costillas de puerco, with Chelino's special sauce. Accompanied with frijoles borrachos, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo and not forgetting all the homemade flour tortillas you can eat for about $46. The meal can feed four or more.
The restaurants also offer a small selection of authentic Mexican beers for about $4 and domestic beers for $3.
All Chelino's are open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday with the exception of the Bricktown location, which is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Chelino's locations include:
• 15 E California Ave. in Bricktown
• 1605 N Meridian Ave.
• 4221 S Robinson Ave.
• 9501 N Council Road
• 8966 S Western Ave.
• 427 SW 36 St.
• 5900 N May Ave.
• 7000 NW 23 Street in Bethany
• 115 S Sooner Road in Del City
• 1612 S Boulevard in Edmond
• 1331 E Alameda in Norman