Couple brings native culture to Wells through new restaurant

Published 9:00 am Saturday, February 24, 2018

WELLS — La Tuna Mexican restaurant co-owners Ignacio Gutierrez and Cristina Gonzalez are at their business on a weekday December afternoon in-between split shifts.

They wait for the evening shift at the restaurant with their son, Damian, with the hope they will create a long-term footprint on the community. 

La Tuna opened Oct. 23 and serves burritos, tacos, enchiladas, fajitas, chimichangas and tamales, as well as a full bar.

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The staff consists of the couple and three other workers.

Gonzalez said they have received “a lot of support from the community.”

The couple moved to Wells at about the same time they opened the restaurant.

La Tuna Mexican restaurant features a full bar. — Sam Wilmes/Albert Lea Tribune

Prior to moving to the community, Gonzalez lived in Fairmont for 17 years and her husband lived in Fairmont for nearly a decade. They are both from Mexico.

Gonzalez said by serving Mexican food, the couple can share their native culture, and they hope to one day operate their restaurant in their own building.

“We’re planning on it, yeah, but we’ll see,” she said of the possibility the couple will operate the restaurant on a long-term basis.

Gonzalez notices positive reviews La Tuna receives on Facebook.

“That makes me so happy,” she said.

A couple from Albert Lea reportedly told her the restaurant had superior service compared to another local Mexican establishments, and Gonzalez said people who used to attend the restaurant where the couple worked in Fairmont visited their new restaurant and plan to return.

Gonzalez encouraged prospective customers to attend the restaurant to see if they like the food.

“He (Gutierrez) cooks very good, and the service is good, I think,” she said.

Her husband said he enjoys being his own boss and likes the aspects of his job.

“I like the cooking,” he said.

The restaurant is open from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Daily specials and carryout are available.

The schedule could change in April.

By the numbers

2 – Children of Ignacio Gutierrez and Cristina Gonzalez

6 – Days a week La Tuna is open in Wells

23 – Day in October that La Tuna restaurant opened in Wells.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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