“At the end of the day after putting in 15 hour days, getting burnt, your back is hurting, your arthritis is kicking in, a lot of people are happy that we’re here. It makes it all worth it.” Rosie O’Connor’s joy is evident. She’s passionate about her food and she loves seeing the smiles on the faces of the folks who eat at her Provecho Grill in Menifee. Provecho celebrated four years in business recently, an accomplishment that doesn’t come easily.
Although it is for all intents and purposes a Mexican restaurant, Provecho isn’t your standard tacos and burritos place. “Some things are authentic and others are not because as a chef I feel very creative.” She points to her Angry Orchard pork chops as an example. The key is the use of fresh ingredients and quality meat at an affordable price. She likes to focus on the various regions of Mexico, like the Yucatan, Mexico City and Oaxaca… “wherever I wish I was that week” she said with a chuckle.
Rosie’s mom and grandmother are Salvadoran, her grandfather is from Japan and her dad is Peruvian. Born in San Francisco, she says she knew at age nine she loved to cook. She attended culinary school to learn how to run a restaurant. Being the restaurant’s chef wasn’t her intent. “I didn’t want to be the chef/owner” she told me. Fate often has other plans, and when she bought Provecho and opened the doors, the previous chef walked out. She knew right then she had to step up and make it happen. “The community deserved it.”
I asked how the menu had evolved since she opened four years ago and she said the difference is night and day. She doesn’t make what she likes, rather what she thinks people want. Food Network has created more sophisticated diners who expect more. She uses sustainable seafood like sea bass and halibut and features new specials each weekend. There are also special events like her tequila dinners and the recent prohibition weekend that featured whiskey.
I enjoyed shrimp Veracruz for lunch with a margarita. The presentation was colorful and vibrant and the flavors were wonderful. There was more than enough left over for a second meal at home. More than anything else, Rosie says she’s grateful. “It’s really wonderful growing with the city of Menifee. Provecho Grill is at 26862 Cherry Hills Boulevard in Menifee, open seven days a week with a weekend brunch featuring a muffin, fresh fruit, unlimited mimosas and choice of entrée.
Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at www.temecula-tours.com. Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701. Ask about special discounts.