by Ruth Storkel
At the far southern end of Burien is a favorite Mexican restaurant called “Casa Durango,” located at 17644 1st Ave S. Burien, Wa. This well-established restaurant has provided our community with good Mexican food now for 14 years. (I have frequented this establishment for many years). As one customer said, “This is the ONLY place I would eat Mexican food!” (I echo that sentiment).
Over many years, I have also come to know the “Best in the West” waitress, Sindia Morales, who has also become my friend. Sindia came to America from Durango, Mexico. In Durango, education was minimal…there was only an elementary school. Mail service was only provided once a week. “There were no opportunities, nothing to do,” said Sindia. She was glad when her father decided to move his large family to California’s San Fernando Valley when she was 15 years old. At age 18, she came north to Seattle. (Most of her nine siblings still reside in California).
She has approximately 30 years of experience as a waitress. “I love my job!” she says. She serves delicious food with a wonderful smile and is attentive, energetic, and warm-hearted to all the customers (one of the GEMS in our community who genuinely loves people and wants to give her best service to the customers). “I want to make our customers feel special and really pay attention to their requests,” she said. (And this is exactly what she does!)
Casa Durango is owned and operated by Chef Santiago Hernandez, who has had 30 years of experience as a chef. (He has two brothers who also own restaurants in the Seattle area). Sindia said, “In the beginning, it was hard! There was one year we worked every day, all day.” Now they have a very loyal, enthusiastic customer base…people who return often, having consistently experienced the excellent food and service. Completing the Casa Durango crew are Santiago’s wife, Sindia, and four other family members.
“We make everything fresh, daily,” Sindia said. You will start your meal with a generous helping of chips and salsa made by the bucketful. (Very flavorful, robust, and not for the “faint of heart”).
Some of our favorite things on the menu include:
Fajitas…steak, chicken, pork, or prawns, served with tortillas, rice, beans, and guacamole (generous portion).
Chimichangas…beef or chicken and rice/beans combination
The burritos and the carne asada combination plates are excellent choices.
Casa Durango’s menu
There are many menu choices (you can create your own combinations). They also have a number of vegan options and a weekday lunchtime menu. Preparing healthy food is important at this restaurant; they do not cook with lard.
Generally, there is no waiting, although they will make reservations for diners. Many people call in orders and
“take out” is common. (During covid, we did this many times; we did not want to see this “jewel of a restaurant” go out of business!).
Reading reviews from other diners, there were comments like these:
“I would eat here every day of the week!”
“Best enchilada that we have had any place.”
“Really exceptional Mexican food!”
“The staff is so kind. They know how to make you feel welcome.”
“We come for the salsa and chips.”
“I’ll be back; it was very good!”
Casa Durango is open every day, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. “Everyone is welcome!” said Sindia. “We are excited about providing good food to our community!” (With a SMILE!)