Why did you choose the restaurant’s name, El Agave Azul?
El Agave Azul means the blue agave – the main ingredient in tequilas. Owner Jose Salas is originally from Jalisco, Mexico, which is known for its tequila. So, he wanted to make that connection to his restaurant. Besides, tequila is the central ingredient in margaritas and those are one of the most popular orders in the restaurant.
What is the philosophy behind the food and service at El Agave Azul?
Jose says that the restaurant tries to make the best food and provide the best service. Right now, the service part is hard because he can’t find enough employees. Still, his family works hard to keep the restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner.
Please tell me about the owners.
Jose had worked nearly 20 years in Mexican restaurants around the Western Slope, from Durango to Montrose, Delta, Grand Junction and Parachute. He started as a dishwasher and moved up the ranks to manager.
Lucia Gutierrez had never planned to work in restaurants. She was planning to own a cleaning business but she agreed to work with Jose after he invited her many times. Now, she enjoys practicing her English with customers and meeting many different people at work.
Why did you decide to open in Ridgway?
After a year of working in Page, Arizona together for a very busy Mexican restaurant full of international guests, they decided to open their first restaurant named El Agave Azul in Naturita. In June 2020, they opened the restaurant in Ridgway because they would be the only Mexican restaurant in the town with a lot of summer and winter tourists. Though they planned to keep the Naturita location going, they decided to close it due to difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are the most popular items on your menu?
Jose says we make the best margaritas because we don’t use sweet and sour, and we use fresh limes every time. Customers order carne asada and pollo asado the most, and the fajitas. Customers like the recipe because El Agave Azul makes each dish with a combination of sweet and salty with the restaurant’s special sauces. Lucia adds that the chile verdes are also very popular.
What do you wish more people knew about your restaurant?
Jose and Lucia just want people to know that the restaurant is here – too often customers come in for the first time, saying they had no idea it was there, perhaps because the building is not a traditional Mexican style. Besides the food and margaritas, people come to watch all kinds of sports on four televisions in the bar area. A fifth TV is just for kids shows, and families enjoy that.
Do you have any special plans for fall or winter?
Starting in September, prime rib and ribs will be added to the menu. During the holidays, special meals and combinations will be served. Though the restaurant will be closed on Mondays starting in October, Jose and Lucia hope to set up online ordering and delivery to customers.
Also for September, during its Member of the Month promotion, El Agave Azul is offering one free margarita to each person who brings in a copy of this interview to the restaurant (from a newspaper or website).
What do you value from being a Ridgway Chamber member?
We became a member for the publicity and advertising, to help us grow our customer base. This town looks like it is growing more and more for businesses, and we hope to grow, too!
The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce promotes business and community development in the Town of Ridgway and the surrounding area. The Ridgway Visitor Center, located at 150 Racecourse Road, Ridgway, Colorado 81432 (across from Citizens Bank off of HWY 62), will reopen from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September. Hours of operation are Thursday - Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
P.O. Box 544
Ridgway, Colorado 81432