La Chiquiada brings Mexi-Cali cuisine to Decatur

Catherine Zuber has long known she wanted to own a restaurant. The Gwinnett County native has fond memories of being in the kitchen when her mom and grandmother would host parties, and she majored in hospitality management at Auburn University.

She managed restaurants in Napa Valley, California for three years, where she “fell in love with ingredient-driven cooking and developing relationships with farmers,” she said.

During her time there, she developed a passion for Mexican cuisine. When she moved back to the Atlanta area during the pandemic, she decided to kick her restaurant dreams into full gear, leaning on the cooking she had grown to love while she was on the West Coast.

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Credit: La Chiquiada.

Credit: La Chiquiada.

On July 15, Zuber opened La Chiquiada — Spanish for “a spoiled little girl, but also someone who’s determined and not easily persuaded,” she said. The restaurant is located at 110 W. Trinity Place in Decatur.

“This restaurant has always been in my heart,” Zuber said. “It’s bringing together my time at Auburn, traveling, working, eating. I hope this is a community place where people want to come and gather and bring their friends.”

The ingredient-driven aspect of the menu remained a priority as she developed the menu with chef Ulises Martinez, a native of Oaxaca, Mexico who most recently worked in the kitchen at Bazati on the Eastside Beltline.

“Precision in ingredients is so important,” she said. “You don’t have to do much to something if you’re making it from scratch and you use good ingredients.”

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Credit: La Chiquiada

Credit: La Chiquiada

Almost everything on La Chiquiada’s menu is made in-house, including corn tortillas, stocks and juices. Breakfast items include cinnamon rolls with a buttermilk glaze; buttermilk biscuits with the option to add chipotle cheese or carnitas; breakfast tacos; and a Toad in the Hole made with sourdough bread.

Lunch and dinner highlights include “the nostalgic” Pachi’s Pintos, vegan beans with a soupy consistency served with slaw and jalapeno cornbread; a foraged mushroom quesadilla made with queso oaxaca; and a street taco with chicken, carnitas or carne asada, with lime, onions and cilantro.

Credit: La Chiquiada

Credit: La Chiquiada

The menu also features a selection of snacks and sides like the pimento cheese-style chipotle cheese and cabbage slaw with cumin-lime vinaigrette.

A brunch menu, offered Saturdays and Sundays, includes huevos rancheros, papas con chorizo and a carnitas tostada. The regular breakfast menu is also available during brunch hours.

Zuber said she will source ingredients as locally as possible, with several dishes changing with the seasons. The restaurant’s coffee will come from Alabama-based Prevail Coffee, owned by Zuber’s friend from her college days. Seasonal fruit will be used to make paletas for dessert, including a few with alcohol, and a rotating agua fresca (currently watermelon mint). Horchata and hibiscus iced tea are also among the non-alcoholic drink offerings.

Credit: La Chiquiada

Credit: La Chiquiada

The beverage program places an emphasis on tequila and mezcal-based cocktails, including a few margaritas and a frozen paloma. The wine list, which Zuber curated with her friend and advanced sommelier Madison Kreamer, focuses on selections from Napa Valley and Pasa Robles. The tight beer list includes offerings from Three Taverns, Creature Comforts and Modelo.

The La Chiquiada building seats about 55 guests inside, including 15 at the bar. The 1,000-square-foot patio overlooks the building’s courtyard. Dog-friendly gestures include water bowls, bandanas and free treats made from spent grain from Three Taverns Brewery.

Credit: La Chiquiada

Credit: La Chiquiada

The interior, “a balance between feminine and industrial,” includes banquette seating, concrete floors, exposed bricks, neon signs, arches and wood tables. The main focal point is a nearly 16-foot mural from local artist Katherine Boggs. The painting includes giant roses, butterflies and a skeleton hand holding a rose.

La Chiquiada’s opening hours are 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-10 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and 4-11 p.m. Saturdays and 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays.

110 W. Trinity Place, Decatur. lachiquiada.com

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