Chiltepes offers Omahans their first taste of authentic Guatemalan cuisine. Made to order and fresh ingredients keep customers coming back. The day owner Floridalma Herrera opened her doors customers came in and gave her food a try. She now sees them two to three times a week.
“I see every dish that comes out of the kitchen,” Herrera says. “I want to make sure the food is perfect.”
Brightly colored woven placemats and Mandarin orange walls are filled with hand-made art and authentic photos from Guatemala. The staff wears traditional tunics and hats that feature impressive bead detail, stitching and patterns. Marimba, a style of music from Central America, plays throughout the restaurant, where staff sings along and discreetly dances to the beat. Herrera started cooking with her mom at a young age in Guatemala. When she moved to the United States, she attended culinary school in California and then made her way to Nebraska where she continued her education. Soon after, she became a personal chef. During Herrera’s time as a personal chef, she learned how to cook Indian cuisine from one of her employer’s mother. Herrera enjoys learning about different cultures and cuisines such as Thai, Chinese and Italian. With so much knowledge in multicultural dishes, Herrera can create just about any dish a customer desires.
Family is what makes Chiltepes a success. Herrera’s family helps her with cooking, cleaning, and serving. They also helped out with the restaurant’s renovations.
“I couldn’t have done this without my husband’s and family’s support,” Herrera says. “I saved my money little by little until I could start my business. My husband helped me with advice and labor to help my dream come true.”
Her favorite part of owning Chiltepes is making homemade fresh food and building relationships with her customers. By spending time with customers, Herrera tries to give them the ultimate dining
experience. Herrera recommends trying Churrasquito Chapin, a barbecue-style meat platter with traditional sides and Garnaches, a fried tortilla topped with refined beans, slaw and cheese.
A contagious smile lights up Herrera’s face as she talks about Chiltepes, making no mistake Chiltepes is her dream-come-true.