It’s a New Mexican cuisine at Abrana Marie’s

Doreen Hedricks will be the first to point out that there exist many kinds of Mexican restaurants.

The owner of Abrana Marie’s in downtown Williamsport considers her own to be one that serves up what she calls New Mexican cuisine.

“We are not your standard Mexican food,” she said.

At Abrana Marie’s, customers can sit down and enjoy many of the familiar Mexican food delights burritos, enchiladas, nachos, tacos, quesadillas.

But Hedricks said they’ll have a little bit of a different experience at her place.

From the time she started Abrana Marie’s more than 30 years ago, she used the recipes of her mother and grandmother.

“My grandmother is Abrana Marie,” she said. “She came from Spain.”

Hedricks, born into an Air Force family, moved around a lot as a kid. She spent much of her youth in New Mexico before eventually coming to Sunbury.

It was in that Northumberland County city where she launched Abrana Marie’s.

She got into the restaurant business sort of by accident?

Her husband, who owned a Sunbury bar, talked her into cooking up red chile enchiladas and selling them to the customers.

The next thing they knew, the bar became a restaurant.

At the time, she might have had the only Mexican restaurant in the area.

“When I started, there was not even a Taco Bell,” she said.

Her restaurant eventually relocated across the river to Northumberland and many years later to Campbell Street in Williamsport.

Last fall, it moved once again to its present location at 100 W. Third St.

Now in the heart of downtown, she feels it’s a good spot for her restaurant.

There’s the lunch crowd that includes a lot of nearby professionals and other workers.

The best nights are Fridays and Saturdays, especially when the Community Theatre League is putting on a production next door.

Reservations, she said, are suggested for weekend dining.

“We can squeeze in about 45 (people) here,” she said.

Hedricks said she’s built up a dependable customer base over the years which include some of her old Northumberland County patrons who come to Williamsport to dine.

“They have to have their fixes,” she laughed.

Some of her customer favorites include chile con queso, quesadillos, chimichangos, chicken enchiladas and chile relleno.

She said all her food is fresh and made “from scratch.”

Added head waitress Patty Strickland: “It’s different from other Mexican food.”

For her part, Hedricks said she gets a lot of satisfaction out of knowing she touches so many lives with her food.

She also likes having her sons and a daughter involved in the business.

About a year-and-a-half ago, she launched a second business in Sunbury, Marie’s Taco Queen.

Abrana Marie’s is open five days a week: Tuesday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The phone number is 570-320-0626.