BarView – La Parilla

La Parrilla Mexican Restaurant
By Kate Serpa
Photos by Phil Johnson

“So did you know,” stated Phil, “that mayonnaise was first mass produced in England during the turn of the century? In fact, in 1912, the famous unsinkable Titanic was carrying in its cargo over 12,000 jars of the condiment, bound for delivery in Veracruz, Mexico, which was the Titanic’s next port after arriving in New York. This would have been the single largest delivery of mayonnaise to occur in Mexico.” “Wow, Phil. Random, but interesting,” I replied. “But,” continued Phil, “we all know what happened to the Titanic. The loss was such a disappointment to the Mexican people who had been eagerly awaiting the shipment of mayonnaise that they decided to declare a national day of mourning on the day the Titanic was supposed to arrive, which is still celebrated currently on May 5th. It’s called Sinko de…” NO, Phil. We are NOT starting out with low-brow Cinco de Mayo jokes. I think I eye-rolled so hard that I need some exceptional liquid libations in order to recover properly.

Now, I’ve been going to La Parrilla on Oakdale Road for as long as I can remember; the restaurant, for me, has always been synonymous with savory authentic Mexican fare. Needless to say, when the sleek and modern new La Parrilla was opened in McHenry Village November of last year, I had to practice some level of restraint, rare for me in terms of seeking out delectable drinks, to save haunting their barstools until Cinco de Mayo because I knew they’d be incredible. I saved myself for La Parrilla, and they did not disappoint.

Yaser and Xelah Herrera, brother and sister duo and managers of La Parrilla, are no strangers to the restaurant/bar combination. Both grew up in the industry; their family has owned and operated the La Parrilla restaurant on Oakdale since 1999, and also hold another La Parrilla in Riverbank in addition to their newest location in McHenry Village. Over 15 years of experience is evident through the quality of food and service — their success Yaser and Xelah credit towards their mother, who you can still find in any one of the three restaurant’s kitchens overseeing and cooking. But, hey, we’re not here to talk amazing Mexican food; we’re here to talk about amazing Mexican booze.

Xelah doesn’t miss a beat: “You have to try El Cantarito!” This big fruity beverage is taking no prisoners; swimming with Cazadores Blanco, Cruzan Guava Rum, Limon Bacardi, pomegranate liqueur, soda, and topped with pineapple, grapefruit, it’s served in a traditional El Cantarito glasses ( an upper body workout, to be sure), which Xelah herself brought from Guadalajara, Mexico. Yaser continues that nearly every restaurant is able to serve a margarita with any number of variations, but La Parrilla is unique to the fact they are striving for excellence through an authentic base; they have a clear message to convey which is evident through their cocktail list and menu.

Next cocktail in bartender Carlos Zarate’s lineup is a fresh mango martini, followed by a restaurant-favorite, a cucumber margarita with a chile seasoning rim. Thankfully, Carlos was holding the cocktail reigns in this case, else I likely would have found myself swimming in the savory flavors La Parrilla’s cocktail list offers — Hennessy horchata, house-made sangria packed full of fruit and mixed with gin, Martell sidecars, specialty micheladas, jalapeno-muddled margaritas. Come any day during La Parrilla’s generous Happy Hour to pair your cocktail choices with appetizers, and you’ve got yourself a winning combination. Don’t mind if I do.

This coming Cinco de Mayo will, undoubtedly, be quite the bash assure Xelah and Yaser: Mariachi bands, give-aways, and food and drink specials. Slap those mediocre margarita mixes out of your damn hands and get yourself some La Parrilla goodness this Cinco de Mayo.

1700 McHenry Avenue, Modesto, CA
** Be sure to check La Parrilla’s Facebook page for additional information regarding their upcoming Mexican Sunday Brunches (with bottomless mimosas, of course)!**



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.