Carlos Pech Contreras welcomes you to La Palapa the same as he welcomes you to his home.

Watch him calling regulars by name, greeting new customers with enthusiasm and checking on every table to make sure every person has what they need.

He has worked in the hospitality and restaurant industries his whole life. He has worked in every capacity at some point – server, chef, maitre d’, manager and dishwasher.

In 2015 the restaurant owner where he was working told him he was too old to work there. They wanted younger workers who would attract a younger crowd.

So in January 2016 Carlos bought LaPalapa from the retiring owner. For the first time he owned his own business.

La Palapa customers are primarily people who live in Chemuyil. In late-2016, residents of nearby TAO Inspired Living started spreading the word about this little restaurant with the fantastic food, reasonable prices and great service.

Carlos and his brother, Edgar, go fishing almost every weekend. Their fresh catch is brought to the restaurant. Diners will often notice Edgar cooking dinners in the La Papala kitchen.

Carlos is all about customer service. Coconut shrimp is on the menu. If he has caught jumbo shrimp he will offer to make coconut jumbo shrimp for you. One time a customer wanted a type of fish, which was not on the menu. Carlos and his brother had caught some of these fish on the weekend. Carlos went to his brother’s house, got the fish, brought it back to the restaurant, cooked it and served it to his customer.

Next time you are at La Palapa, ask the name of your server. It is often Carlos himself.