Omaha, especially South Omaha, has many great Mexican restaurants. So when Ismara Gonzalez founded Isla del Mar Restaurante, she wanted to offer something no other Mexican restaurant in the area had.
“We concentrate on seafood,” Gonzalez said. “‘Isla del Mar’ means ‘Island of the Sea.’”
Mexico has around 6,000 miles of coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, so seafood is an important part of the country’s cuisine, Gonzalez says.
“It’s a side of Mexico that not a lot of people know. I wanted to introduce that,” she says. “A lot of Mexican restaurants here don’t offer seafood. People are used to tacos, tamales, and burritos, but there’s more to it. We have a lot of seafood and we have sushi as well.”
Gonzalez said she runs her business in a very hands-on manner.
“I’m the owner, the founder,” she said. “From making sure I order the best and freshest ingredients, to hiring the employees, to doing accounting and payroll, I try to be involved in every part of this business.”
Her staff consists of mostly women, and Gonzalez says she strives to create a friendly, team-oriented atmosphere for everyone at Isla del Mar that translates to outstanding service to diners.
“When I hire people, the first questions I ask are ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ and ‘Do you like the [restaurant] work?’” she says. “I think it’s important people like what they do. And I think everyone here gets along pretty well. I hear from my employees that they really like their job.”
5101 S. 36th St.
Omaha, NE 68107