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November 8 , 2000
Mission Trujillo serves up old world hospitality
By Jeff Richmond
A visit to Mission Trujillo Restaurant in Littleton is like stepping back 200 years to a time when haciendas served up old world hospitality and delicious food in equal portions.
John Trujillo, owner of Mission Trujillo, says all the recipes are essentially his grandma's traditional meals from New Mexico. His grandparents came to Littleton from San Marcel, N.M., in 1924.
With 15 kids, "Grandma, for all practical purposes, was really already operating a restaurant," he jokes.
"We're an old-fashioned stock-pot cookery here," he explained. "The food is prepared in a labor intensive kitchen where the beans cook for nine hours, the shredded beef for eight and never, has Uncle Ben's Converted Quick Rice been served," he says.
"We don't dump everything out of bags and cans," he said, "We do things by hand."
Before opening Mission Trujillo in 1974, his family leased kitchens from bars until they could afford a spot they could make their own. From the beginning it was successful, said Trujillo.
"Walk through the door and I'm going to take you back 200 years," he promised. "There's not a corner you won't find something interesting its all been hand painted or hand carved, he explained. "The place is a museum."
On Thursday nights, the seven-member Vasquez family strolls through the restaurant playing Mariachi music. The whole family plays instruments and sing, but the youngest, Decenta, who just turned 11, has been the star since he was five.
"He just throws his guitar on his back, puts his thumbs down in his pockets, and belts `em out," laughs Trujillo. "The kids are all home-schooled, just a good family," he continued, "And as a group, they just knock your socks off we're real lucky to have them."
The dishes run from $4.50 to $17.50. On weekends, the six dining rooms are kept busy, and those without reservations wait as long as an hour for tables.
But, "the wait around here is actually a pleasure," says Trujillo enthusiastically.
Mission Trujillo is located at 6905 Broadway in Littleton. For information or reservations, call 303-794-5364.