Bold spicy flavor warms in cold dreary weather

By Jasmine Kemp, Eagle Life Writer

Photo by Kurt Olson
Photo by Nic Olson

Corona Village offers Mexican experience

On a cold February night, the flames of the fire coming from the open kitchen bring warmth to students who come in for lunch and dinner at a small restaurant named Corona Village.

Corona Village on Second Street offers Mexican food ranging from enchiladas to fajitas. The storefront is nothing special. It blends in with the other surrounding stores. The building’s exterior is not indicative of the clean bold walls on the inside.

The seating area is faced with an open kitchen, which makes it easier to see how the food is prepared. Flames from the pan flare up in a blaze of bright orange while the clinks and clanks of the cooking utensils blend in with the Mariachi music playing from small speakers placed in the ceiling corners of the establishment.

Upon arrival, the staff greets customers without being overwhelming. Meanwhile, portions of chips and salsa are already being prepared for the new guests as they sit down to their tables.

“I like how everything is fast,” Jordan Tonani, a regular customer, said.

According to Tonani, he and his friends, who are all Eastern students, go to Corona Village at least twice a week.

“It’s our go-to place,” Tonani said.

Hostess for Corona Village Beatriz Montiel said the majority of their customers are Eastern students.

The walls are vibrant, much like the laughter and conversation mixing in with the music. They are clean, without any objects like photos or knickknacks littering them. The bare walls of the restaurant make the small inside feel spacious. Most notably, the lights in the establishment are never directly hitting a table. The lights hit off to the side, making everything look softer and more relaxed instead of stark and harsh on the eyes.

Food prices range from $5.25 to $14.25. Most of the menu items are around $6 to $11.

Tonani and his friend, Parker Kelly, said the price paid is worth the portion received.

“This burrito cost six bucks. I could go to McDonald’s and get a cheeseburger for seven bucks but it would be [low quality],” Tonani said.

Kelly said it is the best Mexican food he has come across in both Spokane and Cheney.

“Everything is freshly made. … We don’t freeze anything for months back there [in the kitchen],” Montiel said.

One of the more simple menu items, the chicken quesadilla, will cost $7.95. It looks small in presence but is filling nonetheless. There’s a good ratio between all of the ingredients. The cheese and chicken were not overpowered by the pico de gallo, which can easily be watered down and turned to mush by the water in the tomatoes. The chicken itself is flavorful, and the taste of the flames it is made with is present.

The chips and salsa that are served to every guest are homemade. Tyler Harvey, a regular customer, says they always bring out the chips to him warm.

Unlike store-bought salsa, the one made at Corona Village has a short kick of spice and then a sweet tang for the aftertaste. It’s not too watery nor too chunky with vegetables.

“Nothing beats free chips and salsa. If you run out, they just end up giving you more,” Tonani said.