8210 Timberlake Rd
Today: 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
There are currently seven La Carretas in a 10-mile radius in Lynchburg. No other Mexican restaurant in the city reaches those numbers, and there are only two more McDonald s restaurants than La Carretas in Lynchburg. The only other cultural food to rival the restaurants in Lynchburg is Asian cuisine.
But La Carreta, which first opened in Madison Heights in 1987, also has a footprint across the U.S. There are restaurants in New Hampshire, Indiana, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia. And all of them are owned by friends or family of the original owner here in Lynchburg.
You name the town, name the city, I ll tell you who they are and how we re related, said Jesus Roberto Arellano, a general manager at the La Carreta on Timberlake Road. Arellano and his uncle, Jesse Aguirre, just have opened the restaurant after shuttering another on the same road.
The new one is almost double in size, made with materials transported from Mexico and painstakingly designed. Chairs are upholstered with clay-red leather, and wicker lamps hang from the ceiling. Black and white photos from Mexico, a scorpion, cow skull and other ornaments adorn the wall.
The new restaurant opened May 7, around the time of Liberty University s graduation and Mother s Day. That week was really stressful, Aguirre said.
The most popular dish is talabera, which is grilled chicken served on a bed of rice and covered with cheese.
My mom used to make more we call guisados it s just like, different things, Aguirre said. It can be pork, it can be steak, it can be chicken with potatoes or mushrooms.
Both Arellano, 28, and Aguirre have worked in the restaurants since they were teenagers, starting out washing dishes.
[I knew] since I was little, Aguirre said, when asked when he knew what he d do for a living. When you re young, and you start serving tables, you can make as much money as a part-time degree.
The store originally was started by Aguirre s uncle. It was the second Mexican restaurant in Lynchburg at the time, Aguirre said. Now just on his mom s side he guesses there are more than 50 such restaurants, Many of them were started by others in the family, but some are family friends.
This was the gold rush of our family, of our town in Mexico, Arellano said, who added others from Jalisco, Mexico, also started restaurants in the U.S. Born in Los Angeles, California, Arellano said he wouldn t change where he is for anything.
Mon 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Tue 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Wed 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Thu 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Fri 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM
Sat 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Sun 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
Reviews for La Carreta
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Not too impressed :( by Tonia N via Insider Pages on 2/5/2011
Not too impressed. BIG portionns to impress the eye (and satisfy the stomach) but really, the taste of the food- just didnt cut it for this food critic and her husband from Vegas. The chips werent warm, the salsa literally tasted like…
Great value by bethburr via Citysearch on 1/31/2004
Best Mexican restaurant in Lynchburg. Excellent food for the money. Be sure to ask for the cheese dip to go with your complimentary chips!