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Los Molinos at Auraria serves up Mexican cuisine

Los Molinos now serves where Fat Jack’s once stood.
Photo: Erica Barillari · The Sentry

Campus food truck moves into mercantile building

Mexican restaurant, Los Molinos, has opened a permanent location on the Auraria campus, but they aren’t entirely new around here. The family-owned restaurant started as a food truck in the 1980s and has been coming to campus for the last decade. They first applied to serve food at the Auraria Campus Fall Festival and have continued to share their family’s delicious recipes ever since. 

Co-owner Ivy Casillas recalled the beginning of their time on campus, saying, “We were invited back, and we felt so proud of that. We were excited to add a little piece of our cooking to campus.” But that’s not where their close relationship with Auraria ends. Co-owners Ivy Casillas and Sergio Perez are both CU Denver alumni and are excited to return to campus.

The new restaurant opened on Jan. 17 and is located on the Auraria campus’ 9th St. Park, and is certainly a welcome addition to the various campus food options. Casillas expressed feeling “overjoyed” to open their second location and take up a more permanent role on campus. This authentic Mexican restaurant adds a new dynamic to the campus’ mix of local options and fast food chains. 

Casillas recommends their smothered burrito with barbacoa. The homemade barbacoa is cooked for hours and is full of flavor. But it’s only one of the many mouth-watering items offered on the menu.

Their on-campus menu isn’t as extensive as their original location in RiNo, but it is still quite impressive. They offer a variety of different tacos, burritos, smothered burritos, and even breakfast options. 

The Los Molinos menu reflects one of their core values: to have something for everyone. They use fresh ingredients and prepare all of their food fresh daily, none of which is cooked in animal lard to help them accommodate for a large variety of dietary restrictions and choices. All taco toppings are offered at a topping bar for customers to customize their own tacos. This truly creates a homey feel in which everyone can be comfortable. 

Los Molinos’ commitment to creating a restaurant with something for everyone doesn’t just end with their food. Casillas remembers being a student at CU Denver and is devoted to catering to the tight budget of most college students. They do everything they can to offer accessible and affordable food, including a $1 “Taco Tuesday” deal after 3 p.m.. 

Casillas feels “humbled” by the opportunity to be on campus and wants “to give back to [her] community.” This has led to the restaurant’s decision to reduce waste and donate their leftover food at the end of the day. They don’t stop there though. Students should keep their eyes peeled for the restaurant’s free days, which they will offer twice a year.

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