About Papa's Mexican Cafe
Papa's Mexican Cafe in Mena is the epitome of the family-owned and operated restaurant. Papas has been a part of the Polk County landscape for years and is run by the Sanchez family. The patriarch of the family is Oscar Sanchez, who was born and raised in Mexico City but now calls Mena home.
Sanchez graduated from high school in Mexico City and went on to three years of higher education in the hotel and restaurant field before striking out on his own and moving to Texas. He has always had a passion for the business and he admits he started out at the bottom as a dishwasher, gradually working his way up to management in Oklahoma, and finally ownership in Mena.
"I love working with and serving people." Sanchez said. "I believe in excellence - I want everything to be just right. When my cousin called me and said he was opening a restaurant in Mena and needed a manager I jumped at the chance. That brought me here. I saw an opportunity to create a special restaurant with an atmosphere that would make the citizens of Mena proud and would be a great addition to the community. I wanted a place that would offer high quality food and I'm very strict about cleanliness and consistent quality. I started out with that in mind and that's what we have maintained."
Papa's is a great restaurant for a number of reasons, not the least being quality food. They offer a great variety of Mexican food and a large menu of American specialties as well. Everything is prepared fresh. They have great salsa, home made flour tortillas, fabulous fajitas, shrimp, fajita and taco salads, wonderful quesadillas and a variety of mouth-watering appetizers from queso and guacamole dip to stuffed jalapenos and fajita nachos. But Sanchez says their steaks and salads are also some of their most popular entrees, as well as cheeseburgers and chicken fried steak. And don't forget the "fried ice cream" for dessert!
Papas also offers a meeting room for groups and businesses with a projector and WiFi and there's no charge to use it. They also offer catering for businesses and parties in town and there's no charge for delivery.
"We have an excellent, accommodating staff and a wonderful chef, Luis Basilio, who is an invaluable part of our operation," Sanchez said. "It's a privilege to be located in such a nice place as Mena, and the community here has made me feel at home. I love it here and I intend on eventually retiring in Polk County. I have been fortunate to go out and find my dream and I would like to encourage young people to go for their dreams as well - to set goals, work hard and be responsible, because there is no greater feeling than success.
"I feel very blessed for all of this," he added. "I have a wonderful young son and he is the reason I do this - to take each day and try to be a better person, and I hope that one day he will tell me he is proud of his father."