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Mexican meat market claims best burritos in Ripon
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Butcher Jesus Lopez displays a tray of pork that is cut to order for the meat market customers in Ripon. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin
RIPON - A Mexican meat market in Ripon is unique in its charm all because of its owner Theresa Guzman, who, for the past five years, has instilled in her staff of seven the importance of a cheerful greeting to her customers – smiles are the order of the day.

“I love my customers from the little ones to the oldest ones,” Guzman said.

The La Mexicana de Ripon promises the “best burritos in town” to its clientele, averaging 80 customers a day coming through the front door.  The shop’s meat cases display a large selection of beef and pork with fresh cuts to order.  A small variety of vegetables – potatoes, onions and broccoli – are also available in the market.

“It’s fun,” Guzman said. “We cook like we cook in our home.  It’s our daily therapy.” She said the favorite right now is their Ranchera Con Carne Azada.  

“People like our salsas – you get your meat, salsa and beans,” she said. There is a big demand for the different salsas, she added.  

Guzman came to the U.S. more than 20 years ago settling first in Palm Springs where she worked in a preschool.  Later she and her husband Silverio purchased the Ripon store after it had only been open for six months – adding to their daily routine of raising a growing family of five children.

The oldest two children are now attending Modesto Junior College.  Jose, 19, is a history major and hopes to teach one day.  Silverio, 21, is currently working as a medical assistant and in school to become a registered nurse. Diana is 12 and Miguel is six years old.  The 12-year-old is already certain she is going to be a forensic pathologist and find out why people died.   And then there is the three-year-old Natalie – with uncertain plans right now.

With her husband working full-time in construction and the store being open 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. there is little time for recreation.  “We all work hard,” she said. “I wish we could have a bigger store but not right now.”

She added that even with their having been open for five years few people in the Ripon community know they are part of the Mar Val Shopping Center on West Main Street.  Guzman said she recently met a man living only two blocks away who said he had no idea where their market was located.

The Mexican market has had rave reviews for their marketing skills in the community.  Guzman said she would like to do more in the catering arena in the future.