Food Restaurante Campestre

Chef Juan Vazquez cooks the fresh onions, peppers and tomatoes that will go into a serving of Campestre Mexican Restaurant's signature chicken fajita entree. The restaurant opened in the 1800 Pierce St. location that was formerly home to Green Gables.

Justin Wan, Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | A mom to three kids, the master to two puppies and the co-owner of a new Mexican restaurant, Marcela Vazquez wished she had a few extra hands.

"I make rice in the morning, pupusa in the afternoon and guacamole all day long," she said with a tired smile. "I don't need two extra hands. I need 22 extra hands."

It's easy to see where Marcela is coming from. She and her husband Cesar Vazquez recently opened Campestre Mexican Restaurant at 1800 Pierce St., the former location of Green Gables. 

A Sioux City mainstay for more than 85 years, Green Gables closed its doors in August 2014. The building was last home to Crazy Bob's Maximum Bar-B-Que, which was open for less than one year.

"People were excited to see a new place was moving into the old Green Gables," Cesar said. "As soon as we opened our doors, we had a steady stream of customers."

Which was good news for Cesar and his brother Ozzy Vazquez, who is helping run the restaurant.

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Food Restaurante Campestre

Marcela and Cesar Vazquez own Campestre Mexican Restaurant. Marcela, who has a background in the food service industry, said she'd like to introduce more dishes from her native El Salvador. Cesar, who hails from Jalisco, Mexico, would like to bring authentic, homey meals to the menu.

"We've never run a restaurant before," Cesar, a native of Jalisco, Mexico, admitted. "This is all new to us."

However, cooking isn't new for the Vazquez brothers.

"Our mom is a great cook," Ozzy explained. "Many of our dishes are ones that mom used to make for us."

Indeed, this is a major selling point, according to Cesar.

"Everything that we make is made-to-order," he said. "It might take an extra few minutes to receive your meal but it will totally be worth the wait."

That's true of Campestre's traditional menu of tacos, tortas and burritos. It's also the case with entrees like the chicken fajita, which comes sizzling from the kitchen.

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Food Restaurante Campestre

Served sizzling straight from the kitchen, Campestre Mexican Restaurant's made-to-order chicken fajita is a real head-turner, said Ozzy Vazquez, who helps run the business with his older brother Cesar Vazquez.

"Listen to that sizzle and look at the smoke coming off the fajita," Ozzy said, grinning ear to ear. "When people see that, heads always turn."

Walking into Campestre's large kitchen, Cesar pointed to a team of experienced chefs who know how to make authentic south-of-the-border comfort foods.

"We are not Tex-Mex nor are we a fast-food operation," he said. "We make food that is just like a Mexican family would have for dinner."

Ozzy nodded his head in agreement.

"Everything is fresh all the time," he said. "Unlike places that make guacamole by the tub, we only make it it small batches throughout the day. That's how we guarantee our guacamole will be fresh."

Even the name of the restaurant reflects an agrarian philosophy.

"Campestre is the Spanish word for rural or rustic," Cesar said. "If it's right off the farm, you know it will be fresh."

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Food Restaurante Campestre

Chicken fajitas is just one of the comfort food favorites available at Campestre Mexican Restaurant. Co-owner Cesar Vazquez said similar meals are common family meals in his native Jalsico, Mexico.

This is why Marcela Vazquez doesn't mind making making homemade salsa throughout the day.

"This is the type of food I'd serve for my family," she said. "At Campestre, our customers are like family to us."

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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