Authentic Mexican café to open in downtown Harrisburg, serving family recipes

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Rosa Ortiz, owner of Café De Olla, which is opening in downtown Harrisburg

A new café is set to open in downtown Harrisburg, showcasing both traditional Mexican and American cuisine.

Café De Olla will open on April 14 with a mariachi band and plenty of breakfast and lunch items, authentic to owner Rosa Ortiz’s family and country of origin.

“I want people to feel at home here,” Ortiz, a New Cumberland resident, originally from Mexico, said. “I want it to be a place where people come and feel relaxed with their families.”

The café is located at 210 N. 3rd St., the former location of El Rancho Resturante y Pupuseria, which relocated to Eisenhower Boulevard in January.

Many of the dishes served at Café De Olla will come straight from Ortiz’s family recipes. Both of her parents have experience in the restaurant industry and her grandmother’s recipes will be featured at the café.

“I feel like my grandma is so proud,” Ortiz said. “She’s so excited to share her recipes with people.”

On the breakfast menu is a popular Mexican breakfast, chilaquiles, fried corn tortillas, cooked in salsa and sprinkled with cheese. There are also several egg dishes—eggs with chorizo, ham or jalapeños, tomato and onion. Ortiz will serve several American breakfast items, as well, such as pancakes, French toast and avocado toast.

For lunch, the café will offer enchiladas, tacos dorados, enmoladas and quesadillas, among other dishes. Much of the restaurant’s bread and tortillas will be handmade. And, of course, they will serve their namesake, café de olla, a Mexican spiced coffee.

Some of the items will actually come straight from Mexico, as Ortiz’s grandmother will prepare Oaxacan hot chocolate and mole sauce to send to the restaurant.

When Ortiz visited Oaxaca, Mexico, a few years ago, she was inspired by the culture.

“I fell in love with the food and the vibe there,” she said. “I wanted to bring a little bit of what I saw there to over here.”

When the owners of El Rancho, friends of Ortiz’s, decided to move locations, Ortiz saw it as the perfect opportunity to fulfill a long-time dream.

“I’ve always liked cooking,” she said. “Cooking is a love language for me.”

The restaurant looks much different than the previous Mexican restaurant that operated in the space. Ortiz favors a minimalist design over bright colors and a louder atmosphere. The café is painted in warm grays and browns, with several plants placed around.

Ortiz’s sister, mom and dad will help her run the restaurant for the time being, as it has been a challenge for Ortiz to find staff.

“I feel like I’m ready. I have a lot of family that is helping out,” she said. “It feels good to be here. I’m excited to show people our food.”

Café De Olla will hold its grand opening on April 14 at 11 a.m. It will be open on Mondays through Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Thursdays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit their Instagram page.


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