Mexican returns to the Clocktower Commons.

Clocktower Commons lost its Mexican restaurant in 2013, when Pancho Villa (ne Las Fuentes) closed. Now it has one again. In early August, Los Tres Amigos was bustling with workers carrying in high-backed booth seats decorated with brightly painted, hand-carved Mexican scenes. Owner Ruffy Ramirez was supervising the activity and eager to talk about the upcoming opening of his fifteenth restaurant. A few minor details delayed the opening, but by the end of the month, Los Tres Amigos welcomed its first customers.

Inside the restaurant, the classic Mexican decor features hand-painted murals and terra-cotta tiles. With seating for 160, the space seems geared for a casual family market.

Ramirez was born in Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico and cooked for a Mexican restaurant in Kentucky before opening his first restaurant with two friends in 2003 in Jackson. He eventually bought out the other two amigos and opened more restaurants in Jackson and Lansing, later reaching eastward into Plymouth and Canton.

“We’re growing so fast because we try to be the best we can. We make fresh food every day,” he says, emphasizing that many dishes are based on original recipes and made from scratch.

“We fry our own tortilla chips, season the beans ourselves, and make six kinds of salsa ourselves,” he explains. The menu includes all the Mexican-American classics: fajitas, chimichangas, enchiladas, and burritos. Everything comes with a generous side of rice and beans. Ramirez also prides himself on their margaritas. The bar serves both Mexican and American beer as well as sixteen kinds of tequila.

“We’ve wanted to open a restaurant in Chelsea for a long time,” he says. “But we were just waiting for the right location and the right time.”

Los Tres Amigos, 350 N. Main St., Chelsea. Suite 200. 593-9166. Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.