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New restaurant owner adds flair to Mexican fare

Andale Andale latest addition to Burnside Commons plaza
by: Jim Clark From left, Miguel Conseco, Ana Hernandez and Alberto Hernandez of Andale Andale.

That one does not have to walk or drive far in East County to find a Mexican eatery is not a concern for the owner of Andale Andale, the latest addition to the Gresham restaurant landscape.

'That's not my worry,' says Alberto Hernandez. 'I'm not worried about the competition out there. There is going to be competition everywhere you go.

'My main focus is to make customers happy,' he adds, 'for them to leave here with good reviews, to please our guests.'

Andale Andale Restaurante Mexicano opened its doors last week at 1716 N.W. Fairview Drive in the Burnside Commons plaza.

Taking over the colorful and intricately decorated space formerly occupied by Juan Colorado restaurant, Andale Andale - Spanish slang for 'go' or 'hurry' - is the latest of several businesses to open in the plaza, which a couple of months ago was nearly vacant.

The spacious establishment, which includes a separate bar area surrounded by two dining rooms, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner items all handcrafted by Hernandez.

The Happy Valley resident opened the first Andale Andale in Clackamas Square, 11314 S.E. 82nd Ave., in 2006. With his wife, Odilia, and daughter, Zuri, keeping things going at that location, Alberto is concentrating on getting his homemade Mexican fare just right at the new Gresham digs.

Starting off with 13 employees, Hernandez and restaurant Manager Ana Hernandez (they are not related) are busy interviewing two more servers, two bussers and a bartender.

'His main objective was to offer employment to people right now, with the economy the way it is,' Ana Hernandez says.

Alberto says he's confident his vision of Mexican fare - based on the region around Mexico City - is enough to set Andale Andale apart from the many competitors.

'My food makes the difference,' he says. 'Everything is homemade.'

Specialties include 'Barbacoa Blanca,' small pieces of mutton cooked with spices, maguey leaf and guajillo sauce with a salad on the side; 'Mixiote,' pit-barbecued mutton seasoned with pasilla and guajillo chili peppers and wrapped in maguey leaves for flavoring; 'Pipian,' made from ground pumpkin seed and served over tender pork ribs drizzled with sesame seed; and 'Caldo De Cameron' and 'Camarones Andele,' both spicy variations on shrimp soup.

Andale Andale also emphasizes prompt and generous service designed to whet diners' appetites.

'Every time we seat someone, we bring chips and five or six types of salsas,' Ana Hernandez says. 'We have a variety, and they get to choose what they like.'

The failure of the previous Mexican-themed restaurant in the space does not influence Alberto's determination to succeed.

'I'm not scared to open a new restaurant,' he says. 'I always have a positive mind. The economy is not good, but I have to do something.'

Ana concurs with that assessment.

'He likes challenges, in other words,' she says.

Homemade cuisine

What: Andale Andale Restaurante Mexicano

Where: 1716 N.W. Fairview Drive, Burnside Commons

Who: Alberto Hernandez, owner, chef; Ana Hernandez, manager

Hours: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, closing midnight or 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays

Now hiring: Servers, table bussers, one bartender

Call: 503-907-1106