Menu items offer a taste of authentic Poblano dishes

Photography / Michael Durr

When Loren and Marina Xochitlatoa opened their restaurant, Loren & Mari Mexican Grill, they were eager to share their authentic and delicious food. They hoped to attract enthusiastic guests who were ready for a unique dining experience.

They succeeded.

Their son, Antonio Xochitlatoa, says the restaurant, which opened Aug. 8, 2018, has already garnered many positive reviews from repeat customers.

The idea for the restaurant came about when he, Loren, Mari, and other family members, all came to an agreement to pursue their dreams of having a family restaurant.

“Everyone has had restaurant experience in the back of the house (restaurant), as well as the front of the house (restaurant),” Antonio says. “We wanted to have something of our own, something we could be proud of.”

The Xochitlatoas hail from Cholula, Puebla, in Mexico.

“Although our menu has options for everyone, our main focus is our Poblano recipes,” Antonio says. “These recipes include Mole Poblano (a traditional dish from Puebla that can be chicken legs or grilled chicken breast coated in Mole Poblano, served with rice, corn tortillas, and a Poblano Pepper mix), and Bistec de Tinga (a thinly sliced steak sautéed with Tinga sauce with chipotle peppers, garlic, onion, and roasted tomatoes, served with rice).

“The other recipes include Mole Verde (chicken legs or grilled chicken breast coated with Tomatillo sauce, served with rice, corn tortillas and a Poblano pepper mix); Adobo Chicken (Chicken drumsticks topped with abodo sauce made from ancho & guajillo dried peppers, served with rice, pinto beans, and corn tortillas): and of course, Cemitas (a traditional Poblano sandwich).”

Antonio noted that he and his family chose Carmel because it is an area they know well.

“Carmel is a great place to live and grow,” he says. “We want as many people to taste our unique Poblano dishes.”

Antonio added that guests at Loren & Mari Mexican Grill have been excited about the food, and eager to tell their friends.

“The community has been very welcoming since day one,” Antonio says. “Every guest loves the idea of a new Mexican restaurant with a fresh taste. Not only do they love the food, but the idea that we are not the typical ‘over the top’ Mexican restaurant. In addition, several guests are fascinated with the idea of a family of 11 people working together to make Loren and Mari succeed, and that’s what makes this restaurant unique.”

Guests have also enjoyed trying something off the beaten path.

“The majority of our guests coming in are looking for something different, not the typical Tex-Mex,” Antonio says. “Our Mole Poblano has been the most popular item on the menu because of its complexity. Good Mole Poblano is achieved only by those who know the right process.”

Antonio noted that their Steak Avacado quesadillas; Healthy Green quesadillas; Coco Burrito Blackened (a chicken burrito); Street Corn; Tacos Dorados (three corn tortillas); Enchiladas; and Cemitas have also been popular.

However, he has his own personal favorites from their large menu.

“I would recommend the Bistec de Tinga (thinly sliced steak sautéed with Tinga sauce), Pozole (pork chucks slow cooked in tomato broth; , Caldo de Res (Short Ribs);  Cemita de Cabeza (with a Cemita bun, Pig’s Head Meat, Pico de Gallo, and green salsa); Tacos; and Tostadas,” Antonio says.

Loren & Mari Mexican Grill is located at 2293 E. 116th Street, Carmel, Indiana. For more information, visit