New owners keep The New Mexicans menu hot in Everett

The place was packed, as it should be on a Friday night.

The New Mexicans, on Hewitt in downtown Everett, was loud with laughter and fragrant with food.

We soon had stools at the end of the counter. It was a tight spot, but it came with a view. The meals were flying out of the small kitchen, one plate at a time, and the wait staff chatted with customers about the house-made desserts in front of us. And we ate some delicious food.

The New Mexicans has new owners.

The original owner, Chrystal Handy, whose family is from New Mexico, opened the restaurant in 2012. The menu hasn’t changed much, and the baker/manager is Michelle De Simone, who was with Handy from the start.

The new owners are Michelle’s mom and pop — 50-somethings Evie and Vince De Simone. Evie is Samoan from Hawaii and Vince is Italian.

“Only in America would a Polynesian and an Italian own a restaurant that features food from New Mexico,” Evie said during a phone call a few days after our meal. Actually, The New Mexicans is all about comfort food, something all sides of this family know how to produce.

To take on the new endeavor this past fall, Evie quit her longtime banking job. But Vince, a former soccer coach at Mariner High School, continues to work at Boeing. Their son Mike also works at the restaurant.

I ordered the carne asada burrito ($12) — a generous plate with marinated beef, cheese, sour cream, beans and rice on a grilled tortilla. I chose Washington-hot chili sauce instead of New Mexico-hot and I still needed a glass of milk. Next time I will try a margarita made with fresh-squeezed limes.

My husband had a beer and the tasty smoked chicken enchilada ($12) — one of the restaurant’s best sellers — which comes with strips of green chile, onion, mushroom sauce, pepper jack cheese and beans.

Other best sellers at the restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner except on Mondays, are the pancakes ($6) and cinnamon rolls ($5), the baby back ribs ($16), chicken and dumplings with cornbread ($7), the pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches (each $12), mac and cheese ($8) and the loco moco dish ($12) from Hawaii, which is rice topped with a hamburger patty, creamy gravy and two eggs.

Vince is eager to add an Italian pasta dish — probably spaghetti served on Saturdays — named for their late son, Nicky De Simone, who died tragically nearly 10 years ago.

The sopapillas, the pillowy fried bread served with honey butter, are favorites, as are all of Michelle’s house-made pies and cakes.

We shared a slice of perfectly moist and coconutty German chocolate cake. I don’t know how much it cost because Vince took it off our bill because he saw that we had eaten most of our meal squished in the corner of the counter. The gesture was very sweet and the cake was, too.

The New Mexicans

1416 Hewitt Ave., Everett; 425-512-9705;

Dine in and take out during hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Alcohol: Full bar

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