Valentine’s Day came early to Alpine with the opening of Marieta’s Restaurant on Monday, February 11, 2019. Located at the old Alpine Inn Restaurant, the popular chain of restaurants now proudly adds an Alpine destination to its string of successful restaurants. Wanting to check the new place out, my husband and I popped in for a late lunch on February 14th, and were greeted by the friendly staff member who held the door for us during the torrential downpour that day.
Entering through the back of the restaurant (where parking is closest), we immediately noticed the previously dark hallway was now light and airy. The whole restaurant has been redone with festive and thoughtful décor. Featuring paintings depicting Mexican heritage and themed vignettes, the ambience exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere that beckons patrons to sit and savor the culinary delights that are in store for them.
Our server, Herman, gave us a quick tour of the revamped restaurant, including the new cantina, as well as a back room that seems perfect for groups and banquets. My husband and I settled into a booth that was large and comfortable. Adorned with pink and red Mylar heart balloons, the restaurant looked ready for Cupid’s arrows to fly during the busy night ahead.
We started out with libations – margaritas, of course – as we looked through the menu, while our busboy Isaac brought us salsa, chips, and Mexican carrots. Featuring classics such as a variety of fajitas, Enchiladas Suizas, and Camarones Tequila, there was something to please every palate (and even a Hamburguesa California for those craving a more mainstream option.)
My husband opted for the two-burrito combination meal, while I went with a “Special Burrito” featuring steak fajitas. The meat was tender, juicy, and savory, with a true fajita flavor. The onions and green peppers were cooked to perfection – tender, but with just enough crispness to give a palatable texture and crunch. The combination-plate burritos were full of flavorful beef covered in a delicious sauce and accompanied by rice and beans. My burrito plate came with pinto beans in a liquid soup-type sauce that was hearty and delicious (and would be an ample meal itself for a light eater.)
With no room for dessert, we passed on the temptations offered us, and instead reminisced on how the restaurant had changed over the years. From the dark interior and deep-red vinyl booths of the original Alpine Inn, the restaurant now features not only lightened colors, but also details such as stenciling, colorful textiles, and rainbow-hued paper flowers to add color and vibrancy to what was previously a pretty dark and drab interior.
One thing we were pleased to see was that the new owners kept many of the old elements, like the stained glass panels, the casks and cask-themed wall art, as well as the old fireplace and beamed interior. Instead of removing or replacing them, they instead reinvented them in a way that gives freshness and vibrancy while still maintaining an Old-World feel (one of a historic hacienda however, and no longer a drab Tudor-inspired castle.)
Marieta’s Alpine location is definitely worth a visit (or two!), both to check out the renovation of an Alpine landmark, as well as to enjoy a quality meal that is sure to please. Having eaten at various Marieta’s locations in East County, we were very happy that our experience in Alpine lived up to the quality and value we have come to expect from this family-favorite chain of restaurants. The food is fantastic and the service attentive. What was old is now new again, with the latest addition to our local food scene, Marieta’s in Alpine.
Marieta’s is located at 2225 Alpine Blvd. and offers a full bar and cantina. The menu features its standard items offered at its other three locations. Hours are: Mon-Thur 11am to 10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm, and Sun 9am-10pm, and the phone number is (619)-722-4232.
Submitted By: Mary Davis, Alpine Resident