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Mexican restaurant opens downtown

LOS AMORES: A window sign for “Los Amores,” a new restaurant located downstairs in the Boston Hill Center, formerly known as Centrum Mall. Los Amores opened May 16.

BY HEATHER COX - hcox@chronicle-tribune.com

A new Mexican-American restaurant is now open in the Boston Hill Center, formerly known as Centrum Mall.

After 14 months of hard work, husband and wife duo Keith and Yuriana Bennett finally launched Los Amores Thursday, providing a new opportunity for people to dine in downtown Marion.

The restaurant is serving up lunch and dinner, open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 

Menu options include tacos, tortas and burritos, quesadillas, fajitas and much more. 

Yuriana had been working as a server at a different restaurant for the past three years. Because of all of the hard work she put in, she was often asked if that restaurant was her business. After a while, her husband Keith started to think about making that dream of Yuriana’s come true.

Keith said a friend who had encouraged them to pursue the restaurant told them about the opportunity to locate in the Boston Hill Center.

After learning about the building’s history, seeing the ongoing remodeling and spending some time praying about it, Keith said they became interested in the place and decided to go for it.

“This is something new, fresh, it’s exciting. This building is being rejuvenated, and to think of all the people, businesses and transactions that have historically been in this building, it really grabbed ahold of me,” he said.

Since then, the couple has spent a lot of time developing relationships with local businesses to make the restaurant happen. Linda Harmon of Design Studio 407 helped with the design of the restaurant, a local graphic design artist created the logo, menus and windows, Bad Apple graphics applied the designs to the windows, Modern Machine made some metal partitions for some of the seating and so on.

Keith said they want to be part of the revitalization of downtown as a whole.

“It’s not just this building, there’s a lot of buildings that are being redone so if we can keep this momentum going and change downtown like other communities have done, we just want to help with that,” he said.

Los Amores also plans to start with delivering to the downtown area, he said. Once they hire more staff and get the wheels underneath them, they hope to expand the delivery opportunities.

Now that the doors are open, customers can see old photos of the Boston Store, the Hill’s Department Store and images of downtown Marion from decades ago, all paying tribute to what was there before and what’s there now.

Keith said they’re aiming for a classy, historical atmosphere to celebrate the good things that have happened in Marion and to bring life back to downtown.

“Something that grabs the attention of the historical aspect of downtown Marion to celebrate Marion and to remember the good things for what it was,” he said.

As for the name of the restaurant, Keith explained that it means “the loves,” which reflects his relationship with his wife. He said the two of them always call one another “amor,” so his pastor suggested calling the restaurant “Los Amores.”

Keith said it sounded good so they went with it, since they strive to love God, love people and love food.

Yuriana said her favorite thing to do is to serve people, so that’s what she’s most excited about with the restaurant. She enjoys making relationships with customers.

Keith said he’s excited to serve Marion, but on a personal level, he’s most excited to see Yuriana’s dreams realized.

Moving forward, Keith said he’d ask the community to be patient with them as they continue growing into this new venture. The husband and wife team is grateful for the people who have supported them and helped get them to this point.

They also hope to hire a few more individuals to help out and if they’re bilingual that’s a plus, Keith said.

The restaurant is located downstairs in the Boston Hill Center, 428 S. Washington St., Marion.