One of the biggest challenges that Linda Mulholland faces is describing her business, Cocina DeLeon.
"People ask me all the time, 'What is that place?' I tell them we offer gourmet Mexican cooking to save people time," she explained.
Located off of Bluemound Road in the Galleria West shopping center, Cocina DeLeon is a labor of love that has its roots in family. Mulholland's mom (whose maiden name is Leon — the business' name means "kitchen of Leon") is originally from Monterey, Mexico.
"I grew up in Bloomingdale, Ill. Mom was the only ethnic person for miles," Mulholland said. "Mom made enchiladas and the neighbors loved them. I grew up making enchiladas with her. Every summer we would drive to Mexico and spend three weeks cooking alongside my aunts and Mom's family."
Mulholland's childhood experience seems to have paid off. What started as a small take-out business has grown to include frozen ready-to-bake take-out and sides, catering, products in 24 local grocery stores, a few ready-to-eat fresh items for lunch and a demand for homemade enchiladas that customers have called "addictive."
They use all natural ingredients and no preservatives, and make their own 100 percent corn tortillas. Everything is gluten-free.
Cocina DeLeon's enchiladas start with red chile paste made from de-seeded guajillo and ancho chiles, high-quality tomatoes, fresh garlic, onions and peppers. The result is a layered sauce that is full of flavor and depth. They are available in quantities of two, six, 10 or 18, so you can feed yourself, or a whole family. Some of the most popular are the Manchiladas — grilled ribeye with blue cheese ($9 to $58.50), spinach and black beans ($6.50 to $45) and chicken ($6.50 to $45).
"I like to say that we offer frozen food that you don't feel guilty about," Mulholland said. "In fact, some of the gourmet grocers have told me: 'We don't usually serve frozen foods at home, but we do have your enchiladas in our freezer.'"
NAME: Cocina DeLeon
ADDRESS: 18900 W. Bluemound Road, Suite 103
PHONE: (262) 439-9557
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
PRICE RANGE: about $6 to $10
HANDICAP ACCESS: yes
GLUTEN-FREE OPTIONS: yes
LOOKING TO 'GRAB A BITE'?
"Grab a Bite" is an informal look at the food scene in the Wauwatosa, Brookfield and Elm Grove area by freelance writer Karen Waldkirch. Whether you're looking for a place for a date night or a casual spot for lunch, Waldkirch will be out and about scouting eateries for you. If you have a suggestion for a column, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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