SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — With a mariachi band to serenade family, friends, and community members, the ribbon was officially cut on the Mexican and Salvadoran restaurant La Villa yesterday, Feb. 29. The restaurant, at 261 Irvington Avenue, has had a soft open for some seven weeks. 

Karen Murgas is excited for her new venture. Having managed a kitchen in a restaurant before, this is her first foray into owning her own restaurant. She’s wanted to do this for 12 years, she said, and it was finally the right time with the right location. “When this opportunity came up, my husband told me ‘you have to do it, you have to do it,’” she said. The soft opening has gone so well that she’s hired two full time employees for the kitchen and three part-time teens to help in the front. 

She is eager to bring not only authentic flavors to the community, but Mexican breakfast: huevos rancheros, breakfast tacos, and several varieties of regional breakfasts with fried sweet plaintains, refried beans, and eggs. 

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Murgas and her husband have been South Orange residents for close to five years, and their son attends South Orange Middle School.

Village Trustee Summer Jones attended the ribbon cutting as a member of the Irvington Avenue Corridor Committee. Having a new restaurant in the Seton Village neighborhood is important, Jones said, because “it shows that business can come in and be successful.” She said the social media buzz says “the food is really outstanding and people have been coming and trying it out.”

La Villa is open at 8 a.m. and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Closing time is 7 p.m.