Mr. Jalapeno owners keep ties to Plateau

Martin Soltero may have left his hometown of Cuautla, Jalisco, Mexico, nearly 20 years ago, but he’s still surrounded by a taste of home cooking from his native land – especially in the kitchen of Mr. Jalapeno, his newest restaurant, located in the heart of Midtown Bonney Lake.

Miguel Savala and Martin Soltero

Miguel Savala and Martin Soltero

Family Mexican

restaurant offers a wide selection

Martin Soltero may have left his hometown of Cuautla, Jalisco, Mexico, nearly 20 years ago, but he’s still surrounded by a taste of home cooking from his native land – especially in the kitchen of Mr. Jalapeno, his newest restaurant, located in the heart of Midtown Bonney Lake.

Soltero and his wife, Cheli, are no strangers to the food and beverage industry; they owned and operated Mezcale Restaurant in Buckley for six years before selling two years ago. Following the sale, Soltero strived to keep his childhood dream alive of owning a restaurant yet also wanted to keep his family settled in the Buckley area.

“Our three children attend school in the White River School District and we really love the school system,” he said. “We didn’t want to move – we love the Plateau.”

The couple discovered a perfect site for the business, situated alongside state Route 410 and only six miles from their home.

From the beginning, Soltero sought to create an open ambiance among the restaurant’s many booths and tables for his 80 patrons and staff of 15.

“There aren’t walls here,” he said. “They can see each other,” he said.

The enthusiasm for the business is shared among their 15 employees and a loyal band of customers, some whose patronage came from their first restaurant.

“Our former customers followed us,” he said. “It’s a good feeling. We love them and thank them – this is a nice town.”

There are new faces, too.

“On Friday and Saturday nights, we serve 400 to 500 guests,” he said. “When someone sits down and we serve them, I always ask, ‘is this your first time with us?’ Some of the people said, ‘we’ve been here seven times.’ That’s pretty good for being open only 25 days,” he said.

Mr. Jalapeno’s menu offers something for everybody: from appetizers and soups to deluxe taco salads and egg dishes. There are also large combination plates, a full lunch menu served between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily, senior plates and American cuisine.

“And our shrimp enchiladas are very delicious,” Cheli Soltero said of a customer favorite.

“Everyone who’s eaten here loves it,” her husband added.

From the drinks menu, the customer beverage of choice, hands-down, is the 20-ounce martini, Cheli Soltero said.

The Solteros are pleased with their customers’ response after being open for one month.

“It’s been beautiful,” Martin Soltero said.

And with their new-found success, both hope to expand to additional locations.

“We’d like to eventually open two or three more Mr. Jalapeno’s,” Martin Soltero said. “I just hope to be here for a long time.”

Mr. Jalapeno is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, carries gift certificates and accommodates groups and parties. It is located across from Fred Meyer in the new Bonney Lake Plaza at 21160 state Route 410 in Bonney Lake. Its phone number is 253-862-1502.

Reach Judy Halone at or 360-802-8210.

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