Chile Verde might be the most unique restaurant in Columbus. Here’s why.
Chile Verde is not another another cookie cutter Mexican restaurant. In fact, it might be one of Columbus’s most unique restaurants in any cuisine category. Chile Verde thrives off of one thing: dedication. Of course, that dedication plays out in a variety of ways.
First, there’s dedication to New Mexico. Chile Verde recognizes just how special of a place New Mexico is. In talking with Chile Verde, we learned that their food (and even the design of their restaurant) is a tribute of the three-part cultural blend in New Mexico—there’s Native American Indian, Spanish, and Anglo influence in every part of New Mexico, so too in Chile Verde. From the restaurant’s colors that pay homage to the high desert to a menu filled with a variety of classic dishes, Chile Verde becomes synonomous with New Mexico.
Second, Chile Verde is dedicated to its ingredients. While most restaurants might settle for tomato and tomatillo based “chili” salsas in their restaurant, Chile Verde only cooks with roasted green chilies, red chilies, and jalapeños. But it’s actually even more specific than that: Chile Verde only cooks with fresh green chilies, red chilies, and jalapeños from New Mexico. Now that is dedication.
Third, Chile Verde is a locally owned restaurant that is dedicated to its staff and its customers. While most restaurants stretch employees thin and try to turn tables as fast as possible, Chile Verde offers something that is not on its menu: selfless service to others. Chile Verde boasts an incredibly low turnover rate and believes in its staff (you’ll have to read the interview to see how). At Flavvr, we know how good it feels to support a locally owned restaurant. Trust us—it feels even better to support one that supports others.
And lastly, Chile Verde is dedicated to Columbus, Ohio. With 28 years of service to our community, Chile Verde is one of the restaurants that helps make Columbus special. For 28 years, Chile Verde has introduced (and reintroduced again and again) Columbus to New Mexican cuisine. We’re thankful for their dedicated service. We spoke with Chile Verde and asked them about their restaurant and their experience. After reading this interview, we think you’ll be even more in love with Chile Verde.
When you do visit Chile Verde, why not do it with Flavvr? Flavvr partners with local restaurants like Chile Verde and offers its members exclusive deals to some of the best places in town. With Flavvr, passionate diners can save money while still supporting the restaurants that they love. Best of all, if you start your membership today, you’ll get a 1-Month Free Trial for everything Flavvr. Yes, everything. Start right now by downloading Flavvr’s free app!
We spoke with Chile Verde and asked them about their restaurant and their experience. After reading this interview, we think you’ll be even more in love with Chile Verde.
First, talk to me about Chile Verde Cafe. When someone goes in for a meal at Chile Verde, what can they expect?
First and foremost, we’re distinct in the fact that we serve authentic New Mexican Cuisine. We import roasted chilies and jalapeños from the state of New Mexico. Our desire is for you to have a unique experience from that specific region in a way that differs from the quality of cuisine and level of service from traditional Mexican restaurants. Being a locally owned and operated establishment, our focus is on building relationships through serving selflessly. This had been our desire for over our 28 years in Columbus.
How did Chile Verde get its start? What was some of the inspiration behind this restaurant?
We opened our Sawmill Road location in 1991. We have since expanded that location to include a private party room and, six years ago, we opened our second location on Gemini Place. Both locations are inspired by the high desert colors and architecture that you can find in New Mexico. These high desert sunset colors are spectacular and help approximate the New Mexican atmosphere we love. Our recipes are influenced by the diners along Route 66 in New Mexico—north of Albuquerque, through Sante Fe, and up to Taos.
Chile Verde says that it’s “New Mexican” cuisine. For those who don’t know, what are the differences between New Mexican and Mexican cuisines?
Very simply out, the biggest difference is found in the quality of the food. You can see it in our colors on the plate and taste it in the unique flavors found in each dish. The local crop in New Mexico is the green chili. We spare no expense to import the finest roasted chilies, jalapeños, and red chilies through our distribution channels. As a result, our green sauce is made with imported chilies and jalapeños, not tomatillos. It’s real, authentic green chili. Our red sauce is red chili, not a tomato based sauce. We infuse these chilies in almost everything we prepare, including our salsa, which is incredibly fresh and cannot be duplicated. Along with that, our quality permeates how we prepare our meats. We slow roast pork and top round overnight. We are a scratch kitchen that focuses on quality over speed and quantity.
How do New Mexican cultures influence each other? What are some of your favorite Chile Verde dishes that represent this fusion?
The cuisine of New Mexico is the blending our three distinct cultures: Native American Indian, Spanish, and Anglo (Old Cowboy). They each bring something unique to the table. Not just in the food, but also in the architecture. I believe anything you order at Chile Verde would be a dish that is truly unique to us and unlike anything that can be found in Columbus. I would suggest changing things up on each visit to get the full culinary experience.
Congratulations on serving Columbus for over 25 years! That’s an incredible achievement—what has been key to Chile Verde’s success? What have been some things you’ve learned over Chile Verde’s lifetime?
We are actually 28 years in Columbus. I believe the secret to a successful restaurant is simply stated but very difficult to execute. Our secret is our people and learning to selflessly serve each customer. We have been fortunate to have very low turnover both in our kitchens and on our serving and managerial staff. We just lost an employee—really a family member at this point—who worked for us for 18 years. She started as server, moved to management and then was in charge of our catering department. We were able to participate in her life journey and grow with her—she had three kids over those years! Her husband took a job out of state and we told her she’d have to join him—ha!
Being a local operator, these kinds of stories are our success stories. We believe that work and life balance is very important. That’s why we are closed Sunday. We put the best people in front of our guests. They are not people who have been spread thin over a long seven day week. These are the decisions that have given us success over the years.
What’s next for Chile Verde?
As far as expansion, nothing. As far as creating better systems and efficiencies, I would say that each day has its own challenges and adventures. We try to bring our “A-Game” every single day. We can always do better today than we did yesterday. We want to stay within our mission and be who we are without any drifting or inauthenticity. If you want a unique dining experience with the best salsas, the best quality New Mexican cuisine, and the best margaritas in town, then we are your choice.
Many thanks to Chile Verde for giving us their time and attention. Be sure to visit them and enjoy their one-of-a-kind food. Learn more about Chile Verde and see its menu on its website.