Erika Delasancha’s love of cooking started early.
When she was a child, her mother got sick one day and couldn’t cook. So her mom asked her to do the cooking, telling her how to do it.
And that’s how — at age 12 — she began cooking.
Delasancha now is fulfilling a longtime dream of owning a restaurant.
In January, Delasancha took over an Arlington eatery, which she has renamed Erika’s Village Spoon.
At the downtown restaurant, Delasancha serves an almost international array of foods — from enchiladas to bacon burgers to cannolis and chicken salad croissants.
She offers Cuban and smoked turkey paninis and Reubens, meatball and country beef and chicken soups. Someone else makes the lemon bars, pastry puffs and cannolis.
“It’s not a 100 percent Mexican restaurant,” she said. “We are willing to tweak our menu in order to fit what our clientele wants.”
Her menu includes dishes such as chicken in mole sauce (made with dried peppers), tamales and pork ribs in a green sauce.
One of her favorite things to cook includes pozole — a hominy soup, which is her Thursday special.
For the pozole, she makes a green sauce and cooks corn with pork or chicken in it—or both meats.
“It’s a very good combination of both meats,” she said.
The soup is served with chips, onions, cheese, lettuce, avocado, lemon and additional hot peppers.
She also enjoys making enchiladas. She makes a red sauce from dried red peppers — guajillos and puyas.
“You fry the tortilla and add chicken or any other kind of meat that you want to use for the enchiladas,” she said.
The tortillas then are rolled and sauce is put on top. She adds red onion, lettuce, sour cream and fresh cheese.
These are served with rice and beans on the side.
She offers a daily special. For instance, chicken with mole sauce is offered on Wednesdays.
Delasancha adheres to a phrase, which basically says that love starts with a full tummy.
“I love to cook and to have a restaurant was my American dream,” she said.
In a prepared statement, Delasancha talks about her dreams.
“I give my soul the gift of dreaming and I dream big,” she said. “I dream big, knowing that anything is possible.”
Originally from Mexico, Delasancha lives in Fremont and has been in Nebraska for 12 years. She is married to Pedro Bernal and has four children: Maria, who’s attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to become a doctor; Angie, 17, Jeremy, 14, and Joseph, 10.
One of the best parts of having the restaurant, she said, is working with her sister, Patricia Delasancha.
“She’s in charge of the sandwiches,” Delasancha said, adding that they also have french fries and onion rings.
The chicken salad croissant is served with chips and fresh fruit.
The restaurant is open from 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
She noted that inclement weather hasn’t helped business.
“But we have the hope that we can make it,” she said.
She appreciates the opportunity to have a business in Arlington.
“The people are marvelous and I truly believe that they’ve given me the best opportunity in serving them,” she said in her statement. “It’s always a pleasure being surrounded by positive people.”
She told the Tribune that her restaurant is a warm and friendly place and that she is kind to people.
Delasancha plans to keep moving forward, noting this:
“Effort should always be the starting point, and the secret of not forgetting about God — above all, never forgetting your first step and where you came from.”