Leadville’s White House: Casa Blanca
Casa Blanca: think of it as Leadville’s White House! While the rest of America’s attention will be on the White House in the nation’s capital, Lake County locals will enjoy some appreciation at the one right here in Leadville Today.
On Friday, Jan. 20 the Casa Blanca Restaurant is showing their gratitude for Leadvillites with a Locals Appreciation Night.
From 6 – 8 p.m. locals (bring some ID) can enjoy $2 margaritas along with some of the best comida in The Cloud City.
And just in case you’re not familiar with this White House’ story, here’s one from the Leadville Today archives!
Celebrating Four Decades de Comida in Leadville
La Familia: The Family. No matter what the language, it’s a word that stands as the cornerstone for most cultures. In Leadville, La Familia evokes the familiarity of a local business that has withstood the boom and bust cycle of Leadville: the Casa Blanca Restaurant.
Located at 118 East 2nd Street, the little “white house” as it is known to locals, is presently owned by Anthony Mascarenaz and his wife Johanna. But the family tradition and their reputation for incredible Mexican food dates back to 1976.
Leadville looked a bit different 41 years ago: the Climax mine was in full swing, operating 24/7/365. So, there was no shortage of hungry miners, many of whom loved the spicy flavors that traveled up from south of the border.
But the early green chili seeds of the Casa Blanca Restaurant were actually planted a few streets over on East 4th. It was Anthony’s grandmother – Matilda Martinez who started her Mexican food restaurant in 1963 located at 323 E. 4th Street, and appropriately named it Matilda’s Cafe. For locals who remember their first trip to this former Leadville eatery, if the experience left diners feeling like they had just walked into someone’s living room by mistake, it’s because they had! But it was that sense of familia along with some incredible family recipes that planted the green chili seeds for success! In fact, by 1975 business was booming so big that Matilda called her daughter Cleo and son-in-law Tony, to come up from Albuquerque and help run the restaurant.
Within a year, Tony and Cleo’s dream of starting their own restaurant became a reality, buying the perfect “white house” on East 2nd Street. And so the Casa Blanca Restaurant was born in 1976. On its first day in business, the Casa Blanca rang in only $38 in sales – Aye Caramba!
Fortunately things have improved from there and the Mascarenazs grew their business and a family, including daughter Karen and sons Donald and Anthony. When Tony retired in 1993, Anthony bought the place and kept on his siblings – Karen and Don – to keep it all in the family.
For longtime locals, memories of meals at Grandma Matilda’s still ring clear today, although that family restaurant eventually closed its doors in 2009.
Fortunately esta familia did not have a problem sharing their delicious recipes that now keep folks coming back to Leadville’s “white house” for more. Whether it’s their one-of-a-kind stuffed sopapillas or the award-winning green chili they smother them in, it’s local loyalty that has allowed the Masceranaz family to keep the doors open through the boom and bust cycles of Leadville’s economy, through more than four decades in business. Now that’s a whole lotta enchiladas!
So be sure to head down to East 2nd Street to Casa Blanca and celebrate Locals Appreciation at Leadville’s “white house,” from 6 – 8 p.m. with $2 margaritas! Salud!
Casa Blanca Restaurant is located at 118 E. 2nd Street in Leadville, Colo. (719) 486-9969. Open for lunch and dinner, Monday thru Saturday 11a.m. – 8 p.m.
Kathy Bedell © 2010