Shop Talk 

Las Delicias and Big Daddy's set up shop at Park and Getwell.

The grill's guacamole

Justin Fox Burks

The grill's guacamole

Two family-owned businesses — a Mexican restaurant on one end and a meat market on the other — are reinvigorating a strip center near Getwell Road and Park Avenue.

Las Delicias Mexican Bar and Grill opened three weeks ago, but already the restaurant has an enthusiastic clientele of nearby neighbors and young people from the University of Memphis. Customers appreciate the restaurant's fresh, authentic food and affordable prices, says Antonio Martinez, who owns and operates the restaurant with his wife, Leila.

"We wanted to be closer to Midtown and have a bigger space," says Martinez, comparing the Park Avenue location to the couple's other restaurant (also called Las Delicias) on South Mendenhall near Winchester.

Much of the new menu duplicates the old, and that's a good thing. Don't miss the restaurant's much-loved guacamole (it's made fresh for each order), chipotle and verde sauces (served in squirt bottles with every meal), steak, pork, or chicken tortas, and Leila's homemade chips.

"Leila makes her own corn tortillas, then we slice them and fry them," Antonio says. "Our chips are crunchy but still light and a little soft on the inside."

A bigger kitchen has expanded food choices, too. New options include four varieties of enchiladas, three soups, and flautas, which are fried tortillas filled with shredded chicken or beef. At $7.95, the flautas and enchiladas are the most expensive items on the menu.

click to enlarge Las Delicias owner Antonio Martinez - JUSTIN FOX BURKS

Customers can buy beer or bring wine, but Antonio promises full bar service within a week or so. "We are waiting on our liquor license," he says. "When the bar opens, we will stay open later on Friday and Saturday nights." For now, Las Delicias is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Las Delicias, 4002 Park (458-9264)

The business cards stacked on the counter at Big Daddy's Meat Market say this: "We aren't the biggest, but we're the best."

No one agrees more than Haytham Hammad, who upgraded the grocery's merchandise and service when he took over the market last month. "Now we have everything, and it's all good," he says, waving his hand toward the store's refrigerated display case. "The only frozen food in the store is the catfish nuggets."

Certainly, the store's mix of fresh produce and meat, geared toward Middle Eastern and Hispanic customers, is impressive. Exotic produce fills the bins, and in the meat case, there's goat, rabbit, frog legs, ox tail, and leg of lamb.

For less adventurous shoppers, the store sells steaks, fajitas, ground beef, and chicken wings. Ten different "meat deals" also combine variety, value, and free bread, potatoes, or milk. Look for the bright yellow handout on the checkout counter for a description of the combos, which range in price from $20 for 10 pounds of assorted meats to "Big Daddy's Special," nearly 200 pounds for $340.



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