It is only fitting that my last FoodSpace column of the semester goes out with full flavor.
I moved to St. George from southern California, and it’s only natural that I would bring with me an appreciation of authentic Mexican food. As you may know, there is a shortage of that authenticity in Dixie, but it does exist. You just have to look.
Irmita Garcia, owner and namesake of Irmita’s, located at 148 W. St. George Blvd., is synonymous with homemade, flavorful cooking straight from Baja. All of the recipes are her grandmother’s, and from the first bite, it is evident that much time and love has been spent perfecting them.
Garcia moved here when she was 13. It wasn’t until she was in high school that she had aspirations to open her own authentic Mexican restaurant. At the time, there was only one Mexican restaurant in town.
“I was taking Spanish at Dixie High School, and after class, we would go to the one Mexican place here in town,” Garcia said. “The food was very different from where I grew up. I told everyone in my class that I was going to open a restaurant.”
Garcia and her then-husband opened her first restaurant on Bluff Street in 2003. Using her drive and her grandmother’s old-world recipes, Garcia quickly gained popularity with the locals, and in 2005 they opened a second location in Washington.
Garcia and her partner parted ways after several years. Though they both continue to use the name and logo, the location on the Boulevard is where Garcia still cooks and continues to thrive on her family’s traditions.
The menu, like so many great restaurants, is limited to a few of the family favorites.
Your order starts with your choice of beef, chicken and pork cooked several ways with an assortment of spices. These meats are folded into, laid on or neatly bundled into fresh corn or flour tortillas. These reveal themselves as burritos, tacos and quesadillas. This is all finished with your choice of fresh-made salsa from the salsa bar. Limes, cabbage and cilantro are the perfect condiments that top these masterpieces.
Irmita’s signature dish is the mulita. Meaning mule in Spanish, the mulita can be packed with many ingredients, handle the pressure and still have a lot of flavor. Two crispy corn tortillas are packed with housemade beans and your choice of meat, onions and peppers. It is served open-faced. The only thing that would bring this over the top is a glass of sangria.
The restaurant also offers a traditional Mexican Torta made with fresh baked bread. It is filled with your choice of chicken, beef or pork, beans, avocado, tomato and onions. The exact dimensions are unknown; however, the finished product can feed three people. If one person finishes it in one visit, it’s free!
Irmita offers a daily special with rice and beans for $6.
Irmita’s is the best thing going in St. George for the most authentic, comforting Mexican food. From the moment you enter the building, you are made to feel like family. Garcia and her daughters will greet you with a smile and treat you like one of their own.