Azul Tequila Bar & Grill
105 Main St. , St. Joseph, 49085 (directions)
Azul Tequila of St Joseph on Main St is the destination spot for Authentic Mexican Cuisine.
Azul Tequila of St Joseph proudly serves only the freshest ingredients, prepared everyday. Want carry out? We can do that! So, if you want Authentic Mexican Food to take home or back to the office in and around St Joe, just call to place your order.
There is one characteristic that separate the great restaurants from the good. That characteristic is passion. It’s that one person’s passion for perfection and customer satisfaction. It’s that passion of Juan Carlos Ortiz that earned his restaurant such distinction.
“Restaurant is all I've ever known” claims Ortiz, who is simply “Carlos,” once you meet him. And, once you meet him, you become a friend...you become family. Carlos came to the US 15 years ago, at the age of 11, when his parents emigrated from Mexico to Kentucky to work for Carlos' uncles in their restaurants.
Carlos notes that: “I started out cooking. I loved it. Every dish I served was a part of me, no matter how many I served in a day. It was important that my guests enjoy every bite.” If you dine at the restaurant he opened earlier on Stadium Drive in Kalamazoo, you will understand what he is saying.
Carlos came to Michigan a few years back to help rescue a struggling family restaurant in Portage. He says, “The food wasn't that good when I got here. The family looked to me to turn things around. The family was counting on me.”
While in Kentucky, he had been a prep cook, chef, waiter and restaurant manager by the time he was 24. Now was the time he had to step up the plant and run the whole thing. His initial challenge was to prepare and execute a rescue plan for his families Michigan restaurant. Carlos knew he had to change customer expectation. That expectation included both improving customer service and the food quality. He notes, “I was nervous. This was a big deal. I figured though, that I would put myself in the diner's place.”
From the start, he said, “I figured, if customers left something on the plate, it meant they didn't like it.” Carlos simply studied what was left on the customer's plates. If he noted there was a pattern, or if there was a lot of refried beans left on the plate, that meant he had to make them better. If there were a lot of tamales left on the plates, he had to make them better.
Eight months later, Carlos had succeeded. The food was much better, as was evidenced by the clean plates! With one success under his belt, he was given another, even greater, opportunity. In 2011 he was named to manage the Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant – on Stadium Drive. It's the one named by the Kalamazoo Gazette readers as the Mexican Restaurant of the year.
It’s the passion of Carlos that attracts customers to come back often. Veteran server Jesus Barazza notes that it’s the passion that Carlos demonstrates that has and is making the difference. Furthermore, that passion is contagious among the other staffers. Barazza says, “We still check the plates when they come back to the kitchen. When the plates come back empty, we are happy; we know our customers are happy. And, Carlos wouldn't have it any other way.”