Chef Carranza brings mom’s Mexican recipes to new Carytown restaurant

Owner Javier Lino Carranza carves pork in the new space. (J. Elias O’Neal)

RICHMOND, Va. — After stints in the kitchens of several area restaurants, a local chef is striking out on his own with a new spot in Carytown.

Javier Lino Carranza has opened Jalapenos Mexican Grill in the former Coriander restaurant space at 3125 W. Cary St.

Coriander closed in October after three years of business.

True to its name, Jalapenos serves traditional Mexican dishes that include nachos, tacos, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas, salads, wraps and quesadillas.

Menu items also include buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks, as well as dessert items such as tres leches cake and flan.

Carranza, a native of Puebla, Mexico, said many of the dishes’ recipes originate from his mother, who he said inspired him to pursue his dream of becoming a professional cook.

“My mother was a professionally trained cook and had a passion for food,” he said. “I feel like that passion has been passed on to me.”

Since moving to the area from New York City, Carranza worked as a cook at several restaurants, including Morton’s The Steakhouse, La Grotta Ristorante and the former Mediterraneo restaurant in Midlothian.

Opening his own restaurant has been a goal for the chef, who said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to serve his food in one of Richmond’s busiest retail corridors.

“Everything just really fell into place,” said Carranza, who took over the space’s lease from Coriander’s Elizabet Bandazian. “They were looking for someone to take over the lease; it was in Carytown. It was a perfect place for this kind of restaurant.”

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