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Los Amores makes it official

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CUT: The staff of Los Amores poses for a pictured ahead of their grand opening Tuesday.
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PHOTO BY SAMANTHA OYLER // soyler@chronicle-tribune.com LOVE FOOD: Jose Alcaraz mans the grill at Los Amores, serving up a hot plate of arroz con camarones,known in English as rice with shrimp.

BY Samantha Oyler - soyler@chronicle-tribune.com

Los Amores, a Mexican-American restaurant located on the lower level of the Boston Hill Center, formerly Centum Mall, held a ribbon cutting to celebrate its grand opening yesterday morning.

Though the restaurant has been open since May 16, the ceremony garnered a lot of public attention.

But before Los Amores took up residence in the heart of Marion, Keith and Yuriana Bennett couple had to meet first.

Keith said he was looking for a good woman when his pastor suggested he meet Yuriana.

They connected over Facebook and began getting to know one another, but there was one problem. Yuriana lived in Mexico.

But that didn’t stop the pair from falling in love.

After 10 months of chatting, both through messages and over video calls, they got married.

Keith has lived in the area his entire life, but Yuriana has only been in Marion for about five years now.

Yuriana previously worked at another restaurant for three years, but customers would often ask if she was the owner based on her hands-on, hard working attitude.

Some customers even sought her out when their restaurant opened.

With Yuriana’s degree in business administration and Keith’s degree in management, it’s no surprise the couple decided to create their own restaurant, but the idea didn’t become reality until after they talked with some friends.

Keith said they spent 14 months planning and researching before the restaurant was ready.

Another pastor recommended they call the restaurant “Los Amores,” or “The Loves.”

The name serves as a reference to their relationship – they often call each other “amor” – and their motto, “Love God. Love People. Love Food.”

Though Los Amores has only been open for about three months, the Bennetts have big plans.

The Luke Sellers Jazz Quartet, a local band, will be playing live music at the restaurant this Saturday at a special event called Salsa and Samba, but Keith said it won’t stop there.

“I want downtown to be a place people come back to. … The excitement going on around here is very real,” he said.

From a business mindset, the Bennetts plan to put up more signs outside the restaurant and offer a catering menu as soon as September.

When it comes to entertainment, Keith said they are open to ideas that would attract people not only to their business, but help create a strong relationship with the Marion community as well.

The Bennetts hope to make Los Amores more than just a dining experience.

Keith said the thing he is most proud of is not only the interaction between employees and customers but also the interaction among customers themselves.

He said he often sees people get up from their tables to go chat with friends who also happen to be there.

“It really has nothing to do with us,” he said. “It speaks to the community that we’re in.”

For Yuriana, forming those connections is second nature.

“It’s a good feeling, she said. “I love it. That means I did good.”