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Brothers offer fresh Mexican cuisine downtown

by: LINDSAY KEEFER - Trapala Restaurant opened last month and is run by the Trapala brothers and their friend:(from left) Severo Trapala, Carlos Trapala, Edmundo Trapala, Carlos Gonzales and Lamberto Trapala.A team of brothers is bringing what they call a different kind of Mexican cuisine to Woodburn’s downtown.

Trapala Authentic Mexican Restaurant opened its doors Nov. 20, and includes a remodeled dining room and bar, producing an upscale ambiance for its guests.

The Trapala brothers — Lamberto, Carlos, Severo and Edmundo — are from Hidalgo, Mexico, and some of their selections, such as underground-cooked lamb barbacoa, represent their homeland. But they are clear they want to offer more than that.

“It seems like we offer a different type of food but really it’s because we’re making it all from scratch,” Severo said. “There’s not a single can in our kitchen.”

Even though Mexican food dominates the menu, the Trapalas certainly have experience with other types of food, having worked as managers and cooks at Salishan Spa and Golf Resort in Gleneden Beach for a number of years.

They discovered Woodburn on their way home from the airport one morning.

“We came through and thought, Woodburn has Mexican food, we should be able to get breakfast,” Severo said. “But there was not a single (Mexican) place that was open. That’s when we came up with the idea to open a restaurant in Woodburn, because Woodburn needs a decent place for breakfast.”

They found a space to open their restaurant, but had to complete major renovations.

“We saw potential with this place because it was downtown,” Severo said.

The brothers, whose sous chef at Salishan, Carlos Gonzales, joined them in this new business venture, said they wanted to bring more people downtown, so they knocked on doors in the neighborhood to find out what residents wanted.

“We told them we want to bring something different downtown,” Severo said. “They said they really want Mexican, so we offer that, but we want to give them a reason to come downtown. … The only reason we have chicken pot pie on our menu is because a customer asked for it.”

Now the four brothers, along with two of their wives and two employees, are working breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“We hope to get more customers so we can hire more people,” Severo said. “We’re four brothers who have always been together. Our parents never thought we would get along but we prove them wrong.”

The brothers divide up their jobs fairly evenly: Severo oversees the entire establishment and focuses on marketing, Lamberto manages the dining room, Carlos is head chef over Edmundo and Carlos Gonzales.

“I love the kitchen,” said Carlos Trapala. “I don’t copy, I make my own recipes. We create new plates and want to bring something new all the time. And everything is fresh.”

“Any leftover food we give to people on the street,” Severo added.

The restaurant, located at 430 N. First St., opens daily at 6:30 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 p.m. weekends.

Woodburn has been welcoming so far, and the family is glad they’ve relocated.

“It’s the best place to start a business,” Carlos Trapala said, and youngest brother Edmundo added, “I think it’s the best place ever.”




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