For more than a decade, Tina Wolfe and Margarito Alcaraz talked of opening their own Mexican restaurant. Margarito, a Mexican national, and Tina, an American raised in the Turks and Caicos, had met while working in a Mexican restaurant in North Carolina. But it wasn’t until 2012 they set their plan in action, renting a space on a whim with little money or resources. And then came some unexpected help.The community on Providenciales was eager to get the restaurant off Leeward Highway started. Stan Kuwabara, a friend of Tina’s since childhood, supplied the necessary kitchen equipment. He and Margarito together refurbished the old equipment and built a bar from recycled wood. Another friend took care of the plumbing, electrical equipment and gas lines. Still more friends brought tables and donated artwork for the restaurant walls – and they continue to bring more. After the restaurant opened, a customer walked in one day with a dartboard that’s now on the wall beside the bar.“It almost seemed like every time we needed something, it just dropped,” says Tina, 53, who moved to Provo in 1970. “I was sitting around thinking, if it weren’t for my friends, we wouldn’t have any of this. So we named it Mis Amigos.”One of the newest Turks and Caicos restaurants, Mis Amigos officially opened in June 2013. For the first month, the restaurant operated with no sign on the building – and they admittedly didn’t have enough food to accommodate many patrons anyway. But somehow, people managed to find the new Mexican restaurant by word of mouth.The entrance to Mis Amigos leads to a patio bedecked with a mosaic picnic table and garden. Inside the restaurant, the walls are painted a hue Tina calls “Chalk Sound blue.” An assortment of tables of all kinds fills the room. Tina found the restaurant chairs stacked outside a local inn and bought them for $10 each. On the wall behind the bar hangs an intricately carved wooden door. Another wall displays two decades-old posters advertising the Caribbean. Across the room is a painting of a plump, regal man on a horse – a consignment shop find. The atmosphere is what Tina calls “old-style island.”
“It’s very family-oriented,” says Stan, now a frequent Mis Amigos customer. “You can relax. No one puts on airs.”
To read the full article on Mis Amigos and see more dishes, please download the free iPad app.