El Campesino offers traditional Mexican cuisine

El Campesino is located at 314 Newton St. in Jasper.

From Herald Staff Reports

JASPER — Mario Rosales has opened a restaurant at 314 Newton St. specializing in traditional Mexican cuisine.

Jasper is the third location for El Campesino. The restaurant got its start near Patoka Lake four years ago and its name from the surrounding fields and farmland. The restaurant’s second home was Marengo, where it was open for three years.

“Marengo is a small town,” Rosales said. “In Jasper there are more people to come eat.”

Rosales is assisted at the Jasper restaurant by his wife, Melania; the couple’s 14-year-old daughter, Maria, a freshman at Jasper High School; and two other employees.

Rosales’ family moved to the United States from El Salvador in 1972. He lived in Colorado for nine years and Maryland for 23 years, working as a truck driver.

“One day my wife said, ”˜No more, you are never home,’” Rosales said, explaining that his family moved to Jasper 12 years ago and that he worked at MasterBrand Cabinets until opening a grocery store, which he later sold, and then El Campesino.

Rosales painted the exterior of the building, most recently Dad’s Diner, decorated the interior and added a partition to the kitchen before opening three weeks ago.

Lunch specials are offered Tuesdays through Fridays and a taco special is offered Mondays. Steak, chicken and seafood dishes are on the menu along with Mexican favorites including burritos, enchiladas, chalupas and tostados.

“Everyone cooks (Mexican food) differently,” Rosales said. “I am careful with the food and cook using my own system. I work hard to put out good, good food that is traditional. Some say it is the best food in town.”

Fajitas featuring beef, chicken, shrimp or scallops and Yucatan fish topped with yellow squash, zucchini, yellow and red pepper, green onions and mushrooms are just two of the house specialties.

“My motto is good portions, low prices and good food,” Rosales said. “If the customers leave happy, I am happy.”

El Campesino is open from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The phone number is 481-9901.

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