Main Stop on the Ave opened in Downtown Yakima in July of 2017 and has been a “go to” breakfast and lunch spot ever since. Owner Maria Lua brings what she calls a marriage of Mexican and American cultures to her menu. You can find everything from a BLT sandwich to a patty melt to machaca or chorizo benedict. The native of Colima, Mexico moved to the U.S. in 1996, working her way up from dishwasher at Denny’s to main cook. “I taught myself how to make the Super Bird Sandwich. That was the first thing I learned to make. I ate a lot of Super Bird Sandwiches”, Lua chuckles.
After working in the kitchen at multiple area restaurants as a cook and a manager, Lua opened her own place in Kittitas, which had immediate success. But Yakima beckoned. It was where she lived and was a bigger market. She ultimately closed the Kittitas location when the Yakima restaurant on Yakima Avenue at the base of the Larson Building began to thrive. “We were doing Ok Monday through Friday”, says Lua. “I really didn’t know if weekends would work. But we had lines for Saturdays and Sundays right from the beginning. I needed to provide my full attention to this location.”
The business has proven so successful that Main Stop is moving to a new home. Soon after Easter, the restaurant will open on Historic North Front Street next to North Town Coffee where Gunslingers used to reside. “We wanted to move for many reasons. Part of it is because of COVID. We will have a patio so if COVID restrictions tighten up again, we can still stay open. Also, it is a larger space, and it has a parking lot which is convenient for our customers. Also, the growth of the business required it. Friday, Saturdays, Sundays, we have people waiting. We need more tables.”
It is no surprise that Main Stop has grown when you hear Lua’s philosophy ,” For me, the customers are my boss. When they are happy, I am happy. They pay my bills. They pay my employee’s checks. That is the way that I see it. We respect that they are willing to come and support our family.”
And it truly is a family business. “My kids play a very, very important role in the business. My son does all the orders. My daughter works the front. This was especially helpful during COVID because it kept our labor expenses at a minimum. I am very blessed. I cannot complain. We can do a lot of things together.” You will also spot nieces and nephews working at Main Stop.
“My concept was . . . I love, love Mexican food. And, now, living in the U.S., I thought it was very important to marry the two cultures in the kitchen and be able to create different things and you need to have specialties like the Machaca Benedict and the Chorizo Benedict. I wanted to make the restaurant to be a part of me, something I could share with people, share with them my dream.”
Getting to Know Maria Lua
Born: Colima, Mexico. Lived in Yakima since 1996
Hobbies: working out at gym
Favorite Books: anything about cooking, kitchen
Favorite Movie: Burn
Favorite music: Mexican, mariachi, Andrea Bocelli
Favorite Food: Mexican, American, (sweet Chinese)
Posted April 01, 2021
14 S. First Street
Yakima, WA 98901