Sometimes you have to meet your customers where they are. A good example might be La Bamba – a Mexican restaurant in the heart of Dagsboro that has recently gotten a facelift and changed its name. When asked why she made the change, from Rincón Jarocho to La Bamba, owner and cook Lorena Mora said it was simply because La Bamba is easier for Americans to remember and pronounce.
She explained that “rincón” is the Spanish word for a small place or a nook, and “jarocho” is a term for people from Veracruz, Mexico, where Mora and her mother, and co-owner Irene Cordoba, are from. Hence the old name, Rincón Jarocho, which Mora pronounces with an authentic rolling of the R’s that only a native speaker can manage. But, she added with a laugh, La Bamba will do.
The name isn’t the only thing that’s new about the Dagsboro eatery. In the past few weeks, La Bamba got its liquor license, and they will now be offering daily drink specials. That marks a further shift from the business’ roots as a combined restaurant and grocery store, the latter of which was eschewed in the past year in favor of an expanded restaurant business.
With a new name and the new bar, there was just one more thing for Mora and her partners to add – especially with a name that, for most, conjures up a rock-and-roll classic: live music. On July 2, from 7 to 10 p.m., La Bamba will feature the acoustic music of Isabel Umanzor – a local favorite who has played at The Parkway in Bethany Beach, Aqua Sol in Bear and most recently at DiFebo’s Bistro on the Green at Bear Trap Dunes in Ocean View.
La Bamba’s menu features such dishes as empanadas, Tostada de Ceviche, Carne Asada and fajitas, to name just a few. Mora said they have a great Guacamole Veracruz that is very popular. And customers, she said, have called their nacho chips the “best in the world.” They also offer vegetarian entrees and a kids’ menu, as well as homemade flan and other dessert favorites, such as fried ice cream, and strawberries and cream (frescas con crema).
“It’s good food!” exclaimed Brian Banks, who was eating lunch at La Bamba this week with his wife, Rhonda. “And reasonable prices. The enchiladas are excellent,” he added before Rhonda put in that her fried ice cream – which she was trying for the first time at La Bamba – was “really good.”
Mora said that now that they have the liquor license, they plan on offering drink specials throughout the week. On Mondays it will be domestic beer for $2; Tuesdays, $2.50 pina coladas; Wednesdays, $2.50 imported beers; Thursdays, $1.99 margaritas; and on Fridays, they plan on having Happy Hour from 4 to 7 p.m., with drink specials.
Mora, who has been in the United States for 12 years, and her mother both worked in a chicken plant before opening the restaurant in 2005. After coming to Delaware for a better life and better pay, they got the notion that working for themselves might just be the ticket.
“My mom motivated me,” explained Mora, adding that her mother had always cooked and taught her how to cook, and had operated a small store in Mexico. “She was taking care of my children and cooking and working, and I was working and cooking, and she said, ‘You are cooking and I’m cooking – [How about a] restaurant!’”
They have turned their dream of “a taste of Mexico” into what La Bamba is today.
La Bamba offers lunch and dinner year-round. Right now, hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., which will taper back to 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the fall and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the winter. On Sundays they are open from noon to 8 p.m. For more information, call (302) 732-9106 or visit them at 407 Main Street in Dagsboro.