Amaya’s Fresh Mexican Grill
1470 Ford St., Maumee
Juggling the schedules and activities of three involved kids during the school year can leave little free time for even the simple things like going out to eat. When fast food isn’t an option for obvious reasons, and spending hours in the kitchen isn’t an option either, what is a busy, on- the-go family to do? After a long Thursday rounded out with evening basketball practice, we stopped in the locally-owned Amaya’s and had a fresh feast in short order.
With Amaya’s, it’s all in the family
The Amaya family has lived in various locations all over the country, with many years spent in Toledo. In May of 2014, they opened Amaya’s Fresh Mexican Grill in the strip plaza on Dussel and Ford streets in Maumee. “I have been in the restaurant business since I was 11,” said Tino Amaya, one of the sons and owners. After college, he traveled the country opening restaurants and continued gaining culinary experience.
Tino and his brother, Marcos, are involved in the family business, as are their parents Larry and Sue Amaya. Family is important to them, and making their guests feel welcome is as important as using only the freshest ingredients to make meals special. I feel compelled to add that they closed their restaurant not only on Thanksgiving, but also on Black Friday, to allow their employees more time with their families. In a society that now thinks Black Friday begins at 6pm on Thanksgiving, I think that’s amazing.
Fast casual southwest flare
In response to their customer’s needs, Amaya’s is fast casual during the day when you can place your order at the counter and get in and out on your lunch hour. On evenings and weekends, they provide a more relaxed experience with full, sit-down service. Tino said they serve primarily Southwest cuisine and cuisine from specific areas of Mexico. “Everything here is from scratch, except my tortillas,” he said. He added that his mother and grandma spent a lot of time cooking with him through the years, and that many of his recipes are his mom’s with his own twist.
At first glance, the kids and I assumed they were similar to Chipotle and offered burritos and tacos to order. To our surprise, their menu included everything from enchiladas to burritos, chimichangas, tamales, tacos, quesadillas, salads, burrito bowls and more. I admit to being a bit of a guacamole snob, so we had to try some for starters. We unanimously agreed it was tasty and enjoyed a couple tamales as well.
The kids’ menu offers great quesadillas, Mexican pizzas, and tacos with a drink and cookie for just $3.99. Even better, kids eat free on Sundays with the purchase of an adult entrée. Be sure to note that they close on 6pm on Sundays, earlier than some may expect.
Everything is made to order exactly how you like it and I loved that most everything came in a small or large size. For my older two children who can’t always eat the full adult entrées, the small sizes are perfect, less expensive, and nothing goes to waste. My small burrito was loaded with almost every extra they had available for $6.25 and my daughter’s small burrito bowl was $6.50.
Liven up the weekend
Every other Friday and Saturday, they offer live music. Wine and beer are offered, and Tino boasts, “I make the best margaritas in town.” Though I did not imbibe the evening we were there, I may have to try one once I return, as Tino said that even their simple syrups and mixers are all made from scratch.
Bottom Line: Don’t be quick to conclude that Amaya’s is like many other Southwestern and Mexican restaurants. The family owned restaurant offers only fresh ingredients and entrées made to order. Reasonable prices along with kids eating free on Sundays definitely make this an affordable option for families. Whether you are on a tight schedule, or have time to relax and slow down a bit, your new friends at Amaya’s will be happy to accommodate.
The Short Course
To avoid wait Anytime
Noise level Moderate
Bathroom amenities No changing station
High chairs Yes
Got milk Yes, as well as lemonade and Coke products
Kids’ menu Yes, and kids 10 and under eat free on Sunday with purchase of entrée
Karen Zickes is a mom of three active children and freelance writer who resides in Holland, OH. She can be reached in c/o firstname.lastname@example.org.