NORMAL — Mexa Maya Mexican & Central American Restaurante, 1113 N. Main St. in Normal, is this week’s pick for Eats of the Week.
Brothers Anibal and Arturo Reynoso opened Mexa Maya on Oct. 14, 2019. The Reynoso brothers are from Guatemala and moved to the United States in 2010. They worked in several other local Mexican restaurants before opening their own. Their grandfather and brother both own businesses in Guatemala, which inspired the brothers to start their own business.
The name “Mexa Maya” refers to the Mayans who live in Guatemala.
“Our food is more authentic. It’s more Guatemalan and Central American than other Mexican restaurants in town,” Arturo Reynoso said. “Mexa Maya is our future.”
Mexa Maya serves Mayan cuisine and Tex Mex classics, with the most popular menu items including the Pollo Dorado and the Chile Rellenos Maya, which are both Mexa Maya specialties. The Pollo Dorado is traditional Guatemalan fried chicken served with “special” salad, rice, black beans and tortillas. The Chile Rellenos Maya is filled with onions, tomatoes, carrots, green beans, meat and tortillas, and is served with Spanish rice and beans. It is one of the most traditional foods in Guatemala.
The restaurant occasionally does weekly menu specials, and has drink specials throughout the week.
Mexa Maya also offers an outdoor patio, a drive-thru and a full-service bar.
“My favorite part about the restaurant is the regulars that come in, but we also have people who have never came in,” Arturo Reynoso said. “We meet new people and they make good comments about the restaurant, they love it and support us. Some people come in once a week or once a month. There are plenty of people who are regulars here already that are like family now.”
The Reynoso brothers thought Normal would be a good location because there weren’t really any Mexican restaurants in Normal; they are mainly in Bloomington.
The brothers also own a food truck called Jurassic Grilled Truck.
Mexican food is very popular, especially in Bloomington-Normal, where there is a lot of competition. Erika Torres, Arturo’s wife and the manager at Mexa Maya, said they have to distinguish themselves from the other restaurants. They use traditional Guatemalan seasoning, for example. She explained that Mexican restaurants use different seasonings for their meats, do rice and prepping differently, have different textures, and have overall different ways of making their food.
“We would really appreciate the support to keep our business and keep it busy,” Anibal Reynoso said. “We want to thank those who come out and support.”
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Mexa Maya is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday. They offer indoor and outdoor dining, carryout, drive-thru and delivery services through DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Postmates.
All quotes in this story were translated by Erika Torres, as the Reynoso brothers’ first language is Spanish.
Contact Olivia Jacobs at (309)-820-3352.
Reach out with questions.